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What are and how to use QR Codes

Occasionally I have people ask me about QR codes, and although they have been around for a few years now, many people still are unsure what they are or what to even do with them.  This short tutorial gives you an idea of what they are, and some simple methods to use them.

What are QR Codes?

QR Code Example

Example QR Code

QR stands for “Quick Response” and they are basically barcodes on massive steroids. When scanning these barcodes, the scanner goes horizontally and vertically, which have lots more information than the typical barcode.

How to use them?

If you have a smartphone, they are incredibly easy to use.  There are plenty of free apps to use. As an Android smartphone user, I personally use Google Goggles to grab QR code information, but there are plenty of other apps in the Play Store.  There are also many iPhone apps as well, but I recommend the QR Reader by TapMedia.

Once you have one of these apps on your phone, simply open the app and scan.  Bam, you  are on your way to whatever the QR code goes to.

Why & Who use them?

For the most part these are used for getting users to move from somewhere like a magazine or advertisement to another location (URL or Smartphone App).  But you can get very creative.

Think outside of the box:

  • Make yourself stand out and place a QR code on your resume to get to your website or online portfolio.
  • Have a promotion in your store to use QR codes to have a scavenger hunt involving hints accessed through QR codes in the stores, and have a coupon at the end.
  • There are cemeteries who have started using QR codes on gravestones to connect people to an online obituary or a website about the deceased. Creepy, but an idea.
  • If you are musician, put them on your website and visitors who scan them get free music downloads.
  • Tarequl Islam | March 26, 2014

    Hi Kevin, is there any plugin for wordpress to make QR? recently i made a project with a third party software and uploaded QR images to wordpress media library. I am looking for a solution for wordpress site, where plugin can make QR with my given data. is there any?

    • k.shoffner | March 26, 2014

      You can use a plugin like QR code generator for WordPress, but I would seriously consider your options here. Logistically, if people are looking at your site via mobile device, they will need another mobile device to scan the barcode. I have found QR Codes are not helpful digitally, but do work well on print media.

      Good luck

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