Creating and Reading QR Codes

Creating QR Codes

Create is the operative word. You can make your QR codes a reflection of yourself. Be the first to spread the news about Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin's new CD or about whether or not that new restaurant is thumbs-up or immediately passé. Make one to give potential dates or to wear on your t-shirt as art. Use them to send secret messages to your friends or use them at work. Put them on flyers to promote non-profit community or activist events or use them to bring people to your sub’s next sub-wide garage sale.

You control what you encode in QR codes—making them relevant to your friends and to your lifestyle.

First, come up with an idea of what you want to do with the QR code. Do you just want to have fun with them or to use them for business? Decide on your “audience” and where you want your QR code to go.

Second, find a QR code generator that you like. Play around with them. Some will allow more creativity than others. Plug “QR code generator” into Google and you’ll return over 4.3 million hits in under two seconds. So how do you choose? Simply play around and find out what works for you. Check out these three for a place to start:

  • Kaywa Reader: Arguably one of the most popular free QR readers. The site includes a QR Code generator, and supports eight languages.
  • SPARQCODE: They call it “social media in a box” and “word-of-mouth on steroids.” I call it fun to make. Promotes both Facebook and Twitter.
  • JumpScan (beta): Combines social contact information for sharing to your personalized JumpScan page.

Third, test your QR code. If you don’t have a QR code reader, there are many free applications available over the Internet and through your smartphone. If your QR reader doesn’t scan in just a few seconds, you may have too much noise in your code or there may be too much gray area. If your QR code doesn’t work, simply start over using a new generator until you find one that works for you. Most QR-generator websites have corresponding QR code readers within the same site.

Fourth, once your QR code works and you have it placed where you want it, don’t forget to track the scanning. Tracking is fun even if you are creating a QR barcode for non-business purposes. If no one is scanning, perhaps consider that you haven’t created a payoff that makes people want to scan and share.