Building The Perfect QR Code
Generating a QR Code is quite simple. Creating a QR Code that is successful is slightly harder. When planning a mobile marketing campaign, there are a few tricks to ensure that code matches your media, but is also scannable by as many people as possible.
When designing a QR Code there are two major considerations which will define the optimum design; the intended media where it will be displayed (flyer, email, poster, TV screen etc) and secondly, the actual information which will be encoded.
QR Code Fundamentals
Now as with any element of design, QR Codes can become quite complicated. The ultimate goal of a QR Code is to assign it as little advertising space as possible without reducing its scannability. Use this handy guide to understand the limitations:
QR Codes come in three sizes; 21x21 units, 25x25 units and 29x29 units. The code itself can be virtually any size, but it works on a grid system based around these confines. This becomes important when deciding on how much information the code must hold.
The alignment of the pixels within the confines of the QR Code defines the encoded information. The more information encoded, the more densely clustered each of the pixel units becomes. QR Codes also come with four error correction options to ensure the data is encoded correctly. The more error correction included, the more densely packed the code becomes. This becomes important when considering readability.
The “cleaner” the QR Code, the easier scanners will find it to “read” and decode. So the less information crammed into the code, the less dense the code design becomes, making it easier to read.
The ease with which a code can be “read” also helps define how far the scanner must be to accurately decode the information therein. Certain media, such as posters or TV advertisements require codes that can be scanned accurately from a far greater distance (8-10 feet) than those in a newspaper (max of 12 to 24 inches).
To get a clearer understanding of the importance of density, it sometimes helps to work with a scenario. Imagine you are creating a QR Code which contains a very short message, like “Hello World” which contains just ten characters.
Because the message is very simple, the QR Code should be created in the 21x21 format with the minimum error correction setting (7%). Why? If the error correction is upped to 30%, the resulting code will be in the 29x29 format. Although this may seem unimportant, the difference in complexity (a 21x21 code contains 441 units against the 841 in a 29x29 code) immediately reduces the functional scanning distance, requiring clients to come closer and reducing the chances of them actually doing it. In fact, a 29x29 QR Code will have about the half functional distance of its 21x21 brother, despite containing exactly the same information because it is approximately 91% more dense.
As the encoded information gets more complex (such as when encoding a URL), to ensure that the code can be scanned quickly and easily, it is still important to choose the smallest size, with the lowest acceptable level of error correction. Failure to do so will result in a higher proportion of failed scans as customers attempt to scan from beyond the functional scanning limits.
So the rule of thumb is – use the lowest density possible to ensure that the functional distance between scanner and code is as large as possible. Experiment with various designs and densities until you find one that is both readable, and functions within the operating parameters of your chosen medium.
For more advice on creating the perfect QR Code for your specific mobile marketing campaign, please call xxxxxxxx