I have been noticing QR codes popping up everywhere and felt way behind the times not knowing more about them, let alone how to create one. I finally had a great reason to do some research… I needed to use one for a project I was working on. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy they are to create and how many uses there are for them.
WHAT’S A QR CODE?
A QR Code (it stands for “Quick Response”) is a cell phone readable bar code that can store website URL’s, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses and pretty much any other alphanumeric data.
Storing up to 4296 characters they are internationally standardized under ISO 18004, so a QR code is a QR code all over the world – they’ve been big in Japan forever, broke into Europe and the UK a few years back, and are now getting real traction in USA. Think “print-based hypertext links” and you’ll get the idea.
There are quite a few websites out there where you can just copy and paste any URL into the proper field and it will create a code for you that you can download for free and then use in any documents you create. I used a site called QR Stuff and was pleased with how simple it was, their codes don’t “expire”, are ad-free and there are no limits or restrictions.
You can use the QR Code as a link to a destination somewhere on the web that can be easily accessed by anyone with a smart shone and a QR reader. The longer the destination’s URL the more detailed the QR Code will be. So if you are linking to a long site it might be worth using bitly.com to shorten it. An account at bitly is free and pretty fun too, they call themselves “the easiest and most fun way to save, share and discover links from around the web”. Bitly also works well for shortening URL’s for tweets and serves as a great ‘storage space’ for information. It’s well worth checking out if you haven’t already.
For instance, This is the URL for an application on our facebook site http://www.facebook.com/EasyWayApartments/app_170513299636882 and this is the corresponding QR code.
This is the same destination page shortened using bit.ly http://on.fb.me/SbLhM3 has this QQ code.
You can add your QR Code to a business card, Button, T-shirt, have it embroidered, make a temporary tattoo, and of course print it on a piece of paper (Flyer, Brochure, Sticker, Etc.) Just think… Once you get started thinking, the possibilities are really fun! There is even a companythat will print your QR Codes on chocolate! (Gives new meaning to so good they will eat it up!) I had so much fun thinking about it, I already started working on my next post “Creative Uses for QR codes in Apartment Management” be watching for it!
One word of caution, make sure and check your QR code before you start distributing it. (Especially true if you hand typed the destination instead of using cut and paste.) I’m using the free version of ‘QR Reader’ from tap media to read the codes, but there are a lot of options out there. Have fun exploring the world of options with QR codes!