What is a QR Code?
A qr code is a two-dimensional barcode that stores data. It’s used to link to a web page or other online information like contact info, directions, product images or coupons. QR codes are readable by smartphones with a built-in app. They can also be scanned with a web browser to open a link or display the content on-screen.
In addition to a web URL, QR codes can be set up to store text, image, audio, video or even a phone number. This makes it possible to link directly to a mobile-friendly landing page that is optimized for all devices. This is particularly useful for businesses with limited real estate on their products, packaging or other marketing materials.
QR codes were originally invented by the automotive industry for use on spare parts. They allow you to display more information in a small space, making them more useful than conventional barcodes. They are also much more durable than traditional barcodes, able to tolerate up to 30% damage or dirt. This is due to a property called error correction.
The encoded data in a QR code is protected by multiple Reed-Solomon code blocks, which corrects up to 15 errors per block. This is important because it means that if only a few bits of the code are damaged, they can still be decoded successfully. This is a good reason to always use high quality print and production services when printing QR codes for commercial use.
There are several tools that can be used to create a QR code, including Canva and BeFunky. Both of these offer templates for easy creation and include JPG files that can be imported to add a logo or other custom design elements to the code. The code can then be downloaded for use on business cards, postcards, brochures or flyers.
The main downside to using a qr code is that people have to be willing to stop what they are doing and grab their phone in order to scan it. This is not always possible in a busy environment, so it is important to place the code in a prominent location where it will be seen. It is also helpful to explain to your audience why it is worth their time to scan the code.
While it is common for QR codes to be used to direct users to a website, it is also possible to embed malicious links in them that can exfiltrate data from a user’s device. While many people are aware that a QR code can open a webpage, not everyone is aware that it can also be used to open other applications on the mobile phone such as adding contacts or composing emails. To reduce this risk, make sure your QR code can be scanned by any application and not just the specific one that you are advertising. This will minimize the risk of someone being directed to a malicious site unintentionally.