QR codes (introduction)



    Please click the [ Mark Complete ] button at the bottom of this page when you’ve achieved the following goals:

  • Briefly explain the appearance of a QR code and how a QR code functions.
  • Explain why a QR Code can only link to ONE web page.
  • Explain why QR codes cannot (yet) replace retail barcodes.

Acronym:   QR = Quick Response


The image is an encoding of a target URL (web page).
It is normally made of black-and white dots but it can also be customised with colours and a central image like a logo.

How does a QR code function?

QR codes can perhaps best be understood as “print-based hyperlinks” that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds when read by scanners or mobile phones with scanning apps.
You use your mobile phone camera to scan a physical, printed image to open a web page on your mobile phone.
How? Each image is an encoded web page URL. If your mobile phone or tablet has a code scanner installed, when you can scan the code, the phone opens the correct application to handle the encoded data appropriately (for example, to view the content at the URL, your mobile phone opens a web browser).

Can I link it to two web pages (URLs)?

No, it can only encode one web page URL. You could link from QR code to a web page that itself has two or more hyperlink options.

Can I edit the QR Code image to change the URL?

You cannot partially change the image;  to “edit” it you need to  re-create it entirely.

Can customers use QR codes in place of retail barcodes?

No, QR codes cannot replace retail barcodes.
This is a persisent rummour so it may have been discussed somewhere, but think how many scanning machines and how many product barcodes globally would need to be changed.
Yes, you can add a QR code to product packaging, but the product also needs a retail barcode that can be scanned for pricing and details. at the checkout.
A QR code on the packaging may be a neat feature as it allows customers to load web pages with details of products. We may see this as a trend for the future.

How can I customise a QR code to look better than black-and-white?

We use a free online app called QRCodeMonkey:  https://www.qrcode-monkey.com/ 

See this KB article: https://internationalbarcodes.org/lessons/sell-customised-qr-codes-to-customers/


Qr codes are covered in more detail in Level 2:

See:  QR Codes (level 2)



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