QR codes are fast becoming popular. They are being used as links to online business pages, apps, business places, and more. And it won’t be long before we see them on physical products as well that are somehow related to the digital world as well, such as DVDs and books. These codes aren’t just a bunch of dots and pixels. They can be very useful for your business. You can not only create your own QR codes, but also customize them by embedding pictures and designs according to your needs, so they will look interesting and different from others as well. You can use them to gain people’s attention.
What is a QR code?
A QR code, as you can see from the image above, is a set of dots and pixels that has some encrypted data. Just like a bar-code you find on books and other physical products, a QR code is an encrypted form of data. But it can contain more than just a bunch of numbers.
QR codes can be read by QR code readers. There are apps for smartphones as well that will do the job. Most barcode reader apps will also read QR codes. You just need a smartphone that has a camera with auto-focus, no matter the quality.
QR codes are typically used to direct users towards a URL. Users scan the code with their smartphones, and the code takes them to a URL automatically. If you have such an app, you can find that out for yourself by scanning the image above. QR codes can also be generated such that they point only to text. Additionally, some tools will allow you to generate codes for making phones dial a number, send an SMS, send an email, or open up a location on a map. Hence, QR codes make it easier for people to do some tasks. They won’t have to type in phone numbers or long URLs. QR codes, however, are much more than that.
Creating QR codes for your business pages can be a great way to brand your business and promote it. Print out QR codes on business cards instead of URLs. Or, print them out as decals and hang them out on your shop or restaurant windows. That way, when your customers scan your windows, they’ll be taken directly to your business page on Google+ or Facebook.
There are various tools for creating QR codes. Here are a couple that I like best.
This is simply the best such tool I’ve seen so far. It has a very simple user interface, yet it can create some interesting QR codes for you. There are three steps in generating codes. First, you have to choose what the code will do, i.e. point to a URL, contain some text, point to a location etc. Then, you can customize the colors of the code, the look, the design, the eyes, shadow, and more. You can also embed an image or a logo in them. Here’s an example of a QR having the Facebook logo and pointing to facebook.com
As you can see, not only have I embedded the Facebook logo within the QR code as an image, the QR code itself looks like the Facebook logo. You can faintly see the ‘f” symbol. That is the beauty of this tool. You can personalize your QR code to anything you like!
QRHacker is another great tool for creating QR codes. With this tool, you can embed an image into the QR code so that it appears n the background. Rest of the options are almost the same.
Some Important things to remember.
QR Codes won’t always be readable. The back grounds and color gradients you choose must have appropriate contrasts, since these codes work on contrasting colors. So make sure you choose the right color scheme.
Also, not QR codes will be readable. For example, I tested the above Facebook QR code with a brightness just one degree high, and my smartphone refused to scan it. This one, however, works just fine. So always test your QR codes before using them.
And always, don’t misuse them. People can’t tell what a QR Code contains just by looking at it. Hence, beware of malicious content, and don’t spread it. Stay safe, and be happy ;)