Stuff I Wrote logo

What’s with the strange barcode?

without comments

QR Code billboard

If you are clever, or even if you are not clever, you may well have noticed on the sidebar of this website/blog/collection of words lies a strange barcode-esque image.

What is it?

That, dear reader is what is known as a QR Code aka Quick Response Code. It’s actually very simple but incredibly clever. I’ll spare you the technical mumbo jumbo and get straight to the point. A QR Code is an image designed to be read by specific QR Code readers or (and this is the good bit) by your camera-enabled cellphone. The QR Code image itself is an image that is made from letters and numbers. For example, the QR Code on my website, when interpreted by a camera phone or a QR Code reader will display the text on the screen. An appropriately set up device can then transfer the results from the captured QR Code and take you to my website. Novel huh?

You may well have seen QR codes cropping up all over the place. Most notably in magazine advertisements or on billboards and fly posting perhaps. It is becoming quite the hot “in” marketing tool today.

One of my favourite uses of QR I have seen so far is a custom t-shirt with a QR logo on the front. Favoured by cheeky singles it’s assumed said wearer hits the local bars and nightspots using said shirt as a chat-up line to offer a member of the opposite sex their phone number. Cheesy but genius!

QR is still in it’s infancy in terms of how it is captured and used by the end user and for marketing purposes. Using a camera phone to capture QR codes requires the camera to be at the right angle with the correct amount of light exposure on said capture in order for the information to be read correctly. Of course you will also require a device capable of deciphering your images or a dedicated QR code reader alone.

QR however has been a staple part of the daily lives of those in (yes, you guessed it before I even had a chance to type it) countries like Japan, China and South Korea. Heck the Japanese are looking to introduce a QR Code on their new resident cards, aka Juki cards.

I like it, it’s interesting, novel and cutting edge. Prepare yourselves in the west for a tidal wave of QR Code action and prepare to be sick of it this time next year! Feel free to give my QR code a try and maybe try out capturing some QR codes yourself. Either way now you know what that odd looking bar code type image is doing on this site!

Written by The Editor

June 19th, 2009 at 3:44 pm