What is a QR code?

Spencer Batten poses for a picture at the Infomedia office

You’ve probably seen lots of QR codes recently — in light of COVID, lots of restaurants are using QR codes for menus, and other types of businesses use them to provide information as well. You can scan QR codes with your iPhone’s camera or by using an app, and there are lots of practical ways to use them.

QR codes are very similar to barcodes that you see on items at the store, but barcodes are one dimensional and are more limited in how they can be used. QR codes, on the other hand, are two dimensional, which expands the capabilities. You can put a link or an image inside a QR code, and then that code can be scanned to pull up whatever information you’d like to provide.

QR codes also have a level of error correction, meaning that certain amounts of the code can be scraped off and your phone can still read it. You can also stylize QR codes quite a bit —  you have the ability to embed different colors and art, like your logo, into the code itself. There are lots of websites that allow you to do this, but here’s an example.

Most of the time, QR codes are linked to websites. There’s a certain amount of data that you can include in these, so it’s usually best to keep it pretty simple. It can link to a form, a PDF, a page on your website or anything in between — the possibilities are endless if you’re using a link in your QR code.

It’s not really necessary to have a QR code on your actual website. There are certain situations where this makes sense, like if you’re presenting your website to a lot of people, but in most cases it’s not needed.

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