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A beginner’s guide to QR codes: What exactly are they?


Even if you aren’t the most tech-savvy person on the planet, you’ve probably heard the term QR code at some stage. While they have existed for several years, most people have been able to overlook them until recently. However, their growing influence in work and leisure means that now is the time to develop a deeper understanding of them.

This simple guide will answer the questions you’d be embarrassed to ask a friend. What are QR codes? How are they created? When are they used? Read on to find out.

What Are QR Codes?

QR codes, otherwise known as Quick Response codes, are a special type of matrix barcode. Despite only becoming common knowledge in the last decade or so, they actually date back to 1994. They were invented by Denso Wave, a Japanese automotive company.

The QR code is presented as a square grid that has a white background and is covered by lots of black squares. Those squares store information both horizontally and vertically. They carry a range of data sets such as numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji. This makes them a more powerful tool than traditional UPC barcodes.

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Each QR code is unique with a limitless number of combinations available. They can be ‘read’ by scanners, including phone cameras. In turn, the device will take the appropriate action, whether it’s tracking data or loading data on a user’s device.

How Are QR Codes Created?

Despite carrying advanced information and utilizing very modern tech, QR codes are quite simple to create. Whether used for business or personal endeavors, a QR code generator will deliver the desired results within seconds. The corresponding html code can then be used to create the graphical barcode, which will be ready for scanning.

Two-dimensional QR codes are sophisticated features that can be presented in different variants. These include model 1, micro QR code, IQR codes, frame QR codes, secure QR codes, JAB codes, or HCC2Ds. The encoding and decoding aspects are complex. However, outside of programmers, they do not need to be analyzed.

As far as you’re concerned, you simply need to find a code generator and then use the right code to create the graphical QR code. It can subsequently appear on both digital and printed media.

Where Are QR Codes Used?

QR codes were traditionally used like standard barcodes, appearing in business arenas to track data. This could be stock, financial data, and document management. However, QR codes have since transcended into a variety of public-facing environments. In turn, they can promote customer interactions.

They can be used for marketing purposes by everyone from global giants to travel bloggers. One common example is to use a QR code that directs users to a landing page. This could appear on a poster, a business card, or any other form of content. They can be used for restaurant bookings, loyalty schemes, and a host of other features too.

The fact is that you will use QR codes in daily life, for work, or as a consumer. While they are a form of complex data storage, you have absolutely nothing to fear.

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About The Authors

Jaya Mckeown

Jaya Mckeown - Jaya moved to Boston from New York to pursue a master's degree in corporate communications at Emerson College. This experience, combined with her undergraduate degree in psychology and teaching, has equipped her with valuable skills that she employs on a daily basis in real estate negotiations, homebuyer and seller education, and successful promotion of the team's listings. Jaya's clients often characterize her as meticulous, proactive, and enjoyable to be around.

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