Issue: May/June 2011
Squiggle Me This
How to solve the riddle of the QR code
Michael Balas’s wife arrived home from the grocery with a pack of romaine lettuce in transparent wrapping.
Printed on the package was a QR code, those squiggle-filled squares you’ve seen popping up just about everywhere that route your smartphone to online information or promotions.
At least, they’re supposed to.
Balas, a QR code expert and CEO of Vitreo QR, tried to scan the lettuce code, but it didn’t work. So he tried again with another reader. Same thing, over and over.
“Are you inclined to try again?” Balas asks. "Probably not.” So here are some tips for QR success.
|MAXIMIZE COMPATIBILITY. There are many free QR code generator sites and dozens of reader apps across the major smartphone platforms. “Every one of them behaves differently,” Balas says. “Do everything you can to make sure it’s readable by the largest number of devices.” So use code-generating software that adheres to the ISO standard.
||PRINT IT RIGHT. The source of the romaine snafu was a lack of white space, or “quiet zone” around the code. Good code-generating software will dictate proper placement, how much quiet zone is required and how large it must be to be viable.
||ENSURE SECURITY. Beware open-source URL shorteners used to route QR readers to your page. The created links are outside of your control. “A QR code for Frito-Lay should point to the potato chip website, not a porn website,” he says.
||ENABLE ANALYTICS. QR codes are incredibly powerful for tracking your customers’ behavior, from how often a code was scanned to where they were located when scanned. “You can expect a success rate over 95 percent if you do it right,” he says.
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