The rage in the world market at present seems to be revolving around the use of QR codes. Having undergone a significant increase over recent years as far as their presence around the Web is concerned, they point towards a stellar fact: Marketers are adopting their usage with open hands.
However, does that necessarily mean that you should implement them in your website design? If you are approached by a client regarding the use of Quick Response codes for the design and development of their websites, how will you respond to their queries?
Read on as we take a look at whether QR codes represent the next big thing in terms of Web marketing and graphic design concepts around the Net.
Say “hello” to QR Codes:
QR code, or Quick Response Code, does not offer anything new as far as its core concept is concerned: in all essence, it is a simple barcode! For those who have been introduced to this world no earlier than the last, three or four decades will have seen barcodes almost every day. You just can’t miss one since, from the tag on your latest Smartphone to the label of your favourite bottle of packaged drinking water, these ingenious electromagnetic creations are everywhere. Similar to barcodes, you can use a QR code for storing enclosed pieces of information decodable on only a special form of reader.
A big difference between a QR code and conventional barcode is the fact that while QR codes have been set up to be perceived as an image, barcodes can only be read by an incident light beam on it. For the QR codes, the scanner takes a picture of the same, aligns it by means of specific identifiable patterns before finally applying the remaining bit as a binary code.
At first glance, a QR code looks like a random design. However, look closely and you will find four very specific squares shared on each of these coded images. The scanner gathers information on the skew, rotation and alignment of the code from this unique design to ensure that it correctly interprets the information.
A major benefit associated with these modern codes is that you can scan them really quickly at various angles and orientations. Also, it is very easy for them to store a whole lot of information within a comparatively small area.
It was only when someone made the revelation that every individual today is in possession of a potential scanner that the real potential of these QR codes was realised. A cell phone that features the very basic of web capabilities and is fitted with a camera can read and respond to the QR codes without any difficulty.
QR codes, a promising feature:
Potential clients of QR codes around the world are presented with a promise that is seemingly irresistible. When you are advertising or promoting through print, the amount of space you are presented with is always limited- be it an advertisement at a bus-stop or promotional material on company brochures. Moreover, the information you present your readers is essentially static with little or no interaction with them. Many perceive it as simply a massive pile of ink and there is virtually nothing you can do about that!
Transfer that scenario to the Web and everything undergoes a seemingly drastic change. With unlimited space, an interaction capability that has its limits only your imagination prowess, and a world of new possibilities and opportunities presented by social media and other similar technologies, you are not too far away from having the holy grail of marketing in your hand: continual and sustained contact and interaction with your customers.
Getting people hooked to QR codes:
One obvious question everyone is faced with is this: how to use the limited space available on print media as a gateway to the unlimited and magical world that is the Internet? One potential answer is the use of QR codes.
When you put up a QR code on your otherwise boring bus-stop ad, it suddenly becomes an interactive piece of advertising work. A bored commuter will come across it, point his phone in that direction and be transported within minutes to a whole new world of videos, information and WebPages.
To ensure that QR codes hit all the necessary targets, they are largely promoted as friendly towards social media. So you can put them to good use for promoting yourself on these platforms- gain likes on Facebook, pins on Pinterest, followers on Twitter, so on and so forth
How did QR Codes start?
There is a strange sort of cult following to the QR codes. Marketers and designers around the world jumped on this bandwagon and introduced a totally different set of ideas to this concept. What was once the brainchild of Toyota as a means of tracking their vehicles through unique manufacturing concepts turned out to be a new concept in marketing.
Today, QR codes get featured in the weirdest of places. As the prime tool used by guerrilla marketers the world over, you will come across these graphical wonder kinds in the most unsavoury of places: baked goods, belt buckles, telephone poles, shirts, brick walls. Even the dead have not been spared, there are some tombstones with QR code graphics printed on them. Talk about marketing in the afterlife!
How to use QR codes:
While implementing a QR code as part of your graphic design is seemingly easy, doing so for websites may require you to call upon professional help. Designing of QR codes for websites is done through PHP programming concepts so if you are not familiar with it, your work will not prove to be effective. Graphic design, on the other hand, is very simple as there are numerous websites where you can generate these codes as per your requirement, take a print out and apply them as part of your graphic design on any material.
A person who creates the code will always say that it is easy to use one. However, the same is very often not the case with users who remain divided on their effectiveness to this day. While QR code fans talk highly about this innovation (all you need to do is take out your phone, point to the code, and soon you get transported to another world) there is another section of the society to whom all of it is a very laborious procedure!
To put it simply, many individuals consider it to be no more than an overhyped wastage of fine, print-quality ink.
Time for some interesting statistics:
Many graphic designers have wondered whether people even use QR codes or their work is no more than a wasted effort. “Do people really use them,” was the direct question one of them put forth to me.
That got me thinking and prompted some research on my part. The findings, truth be told, made for some impressive reading.
According to a reputed website, only 1% of printed matter contained QR graphics in January 2013 but that number improved considerably to 8% by the end of the year. While it is a conclusion that marketers simply love them, doubts exist over their effectiveness among the general public.
A report, nevertheless, was published in December 2013 that stated 75% of the surveyed individuals were unaware of what a QR code was. However, on being shown a picture, 83% claimed they had come across one before. Thus, we can conclude that QR codes are yet to become equally popular among customers.
How to make QR code design on your website:
Now that we have gone through all the various aspects of a QR graphic code, let us take a look at some guidelines that will help you design one such code better and let you drive further traffic to your website.
Allow a user to work with an alternative: If you are not looking for a single-minded approach that will limit the number of visitors who have access to your website, let them have an alternative to work with. Generally, placing your website URL alongside the code help.
Develop responsive web content: Never forget that most of the QR code scanners will be doing it through the use of Smartphones. If the landing page is a website optimised for performance on a desktop, all your efforts have been rendered useless. Ensure that you use responsive web page design and content, minus the implementation of non-mobile technologies such as Flash.
Creativity is always an excellent promoter: One of the biggest additions for QR code users is the curiosity that it brings forth. As these codes gather further ubiquity, it becomes easier to ignore them altogether much like the sidebar ads you come across on the Internet. Ensure that you give your presentation strategy some serious thought. The better you are at leveraging the curiosity of your visitors and grabbing their attention, more traffic your website will generate.
Set definite goals for yourself: Simply getting people to scan your QR code is impressive in itself, but if you let go off the subsequent opportunity, then all your effort goes waste! A million scans, but not even a thousand end-user activity is not the statistic you want to achieve. Scoring big on the love of social media users is one way of achieving positive results in the long run.
Avoid portraying yourself as stupid: The QR code technology is highly abused, overused and very often not very well comprehended by many. Placing a QR code on a billboard standing next to a highway where the average speed of vehicular traffic exceeds eighty miles an hour does not make for the best promotion of your business website!
What does the future hold for QR codes?
So is this a tell-tale sign of a bleak future for this new technological and graphical wonder? Not quite! Data from the same report revealed that 60% of Smartphone users and another 75% of the surveyed public considered it to be an easy process. Moreover, 41% found it to be useful, 42% were inconclusive about their stand while another 18% felt the whole concept was a dismal failure.
While the numbers are not too positive, they paint a far positive picture than what many designers feel. A statement claiming “nobody uses QR codes” now seems far from the truth. As long as Smartphone owners are your primary target market, it is likely they will be familiar both with the concept and also with the use of QR codes.
If you are looking for qualified personnel to take care of the design of QR codes on your business website, it is best to hire PHP programmers from a reputed business solutions service company. Provide them with your requirements and sit back and watch as they work towards taking your business to new heights.