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The Mysteries of the QR Code

Introduction to the QR code

The Quick Response code, or more commonly referred to as a QR code, has been a major trend soar­ing upward in 2011. A QR code is a two dimen­sional graphic that is gen­er­ated with some form of con­tent that will be dis­played after scan­ning the code with your smart phone.

The amount of con­tent stored will affect the size and matrix of the QR code. The matrix of the code refers to the black chunks inside of the square graphic, the more con­tent, the big­ger and more packed the QR code will be. Con­tent stored in the QR can be a wide array of media, most com­monly used for web addresses which will load a spe­cific web page after being scanned. These codes can be used to send SMS mes­sages, plain text, com­pose emails, adding vCards to your con­tacts and open appli­ca­tions you have installed on your phone.

The Appeal

The QR code’s suc­cess this year can be attrib­uted to sev­eral fac­tors. The cost of a QR code is almost non-existent. Cre­ation only take sec­onds, and plac­ing the code on to media is also min­i­mal, and painless.

QR Code Example

Cus­tomiza­tion of a QR code, using dif­fer­ent col­ors or embed­ding your brand into the code is also a big appeal to imple­ment these into your own mar­ket­ing efforts. The QR code has up to a 30% error cor­rec­tion, mean­ing you can change up to thirty per­cent of the QR code while keep­ing the main 4 boxes intact, and still have it scan properly.

For more infor­ma­tion about the cool things you can do with QR cus­tomiza­tion, fol­low this link: http://on.mash.to/rLhkdr

The QR code in the wild

Mar­keters and free­lancers alike have been plac­ing QR codes on every piece of print col­lat­eral, TV com­mer­cials, Bill­boards, and in emails to try to get cus­tomers famil­iar with the new way to com­mu­ni­cate con­tent. Herein lies the prob­lem. The major­ity of these mar­keters and free­lancers have missed the point of a quick response code.

QR Code

The race to be on the cut­ting edge has left these peo­ple blind to the cor­rect way to exe­cute a QR code. The users are access­ing mobile devices to scan the QR codes and are deliv­ered with large and non-mobile friendly content.

Being cau­tions

Its hap­pen­ing more and more each pass­ing day. Threats to your per­sonal pri­vate data, and un autho­rized access to the con­tent you have col­lected over the years. I am talk­ing about viruses and mali­cious con­tent. QR codes can indeed land you on con­tent that is mali­cious and bad for your per­sonal data and your mobile phone. Unfor­tu­nately with a rise in tech­nol­ogy, there will be a way to bring it down as well.

For a lengthly research paper on QR code secu­rity fol­low this link: http://bit.ly/v3ZsCE

Prob­lem: Mobile Devices

The QR code was meant to be an easy to access means to nav­i­gate to spe­cific con­tent on a mobile device with­out hav­ing to mem­o­rize long URLs or cer­tain instruc­tions to com­plete a task.

Users are com­ing in con­tact with these QR codes while out shop­ping or while sit­ting at restau­rants and scan­ning them with their mobile phones. Plac­ing QR codes on bill­boards is risky busi­ness, putting them on TV com­mer­cials prob­a­bly doesn’t get much con­ver­sion and using them in emails is almost point­less as the user is already on a com­puter when they read the email.

Prob­lem: Mobile Content

After scan­ning a QR code in pub­lic, I am usu­ally still mov­ing. After wait­ing for a page to load I notice that the con­tent is not for­mat­ted for a mobile device. This is a turn off for the user and will pro­duce more bounce rate than con­ver­sion rate.

QR codes have been pushed so fast, that the way peo­ple are access­ing this con­tent has been a giant over­sight. The user doesn’t want to wait very long for the con­tent to load, or zoom in to the con­tent that is rel­e­vant. This takes away from the mobile expe­ri­ence and from the mes­sage you are try­ing to get across via the QR code.

*Solu­tion: Inter­ac­tive Mobile Experience *

Based on our prob­lem set, there are many ways we can com­bat bad QR experiences.

Set­ting QR codes in ways that the user, with their mobile phones can scan them safely and eas­ily is the first hur­dle. Going along the secu­rity line, plac­ing your QR code along side your branded logo can also ensure the user is scan­ning a legit code and not a mali­cious one.

Label­ing what the code will do where the user is scan­ning, will cre­ate a sense of trust between the user and your brand. This also can assist in the secu­rity men­tioned before allow­ing the user to see what should hap­pen instead of guess­ing. Scan­ning a ran­dom QR code is much like tak­ing a shot in the dark. With a clear label of the con­tent after scan­ning, the user will know what to expect before com­plet­ing their action.

Dis­play­ing well for­mat­ted con­tent for a mobile device that focuses on the mes­sage of your QR cam­paign should be your goal. Mak­ing use of the smaller screen and lim­ited real estate, you should focus on what is impor­tant such as a sign up form, cam­paign spe­cific con­tent, or other inter­ac­tions with the user.

*Con­clu­sion *

2011 has been a great year with some amaz­ing trends in the cre­ative field. We have seen mobile devices explode into a big­ger more viable plat­form. With that has come more ways to com­mu­ni­cate and dis­play content.

QR codes are great for almost every field out there from auto­mo­tive, to tech­nol­ogy, to med­ical and beyond. Get­ting users famil­iar with this new tech­nol­ogy has been quick and well received. Get­ting the peo­ple who make and dis­trib­ute the QR codes to focus on mobile and tar­geted con­tent has been a slow uphill battle.

The clear thing is, QR codes will only go up from here, as more and more com­pa­nies adapt to using them in their mar­ket­ing and track­ing efforts, and more and more users rec­og­nize and inter­act with these QR codes. The need to deliver more for­mat­ted con­tent for the mobile user is becom­ing a must if a com­pany wants to see a return on investment.