QR Codes, such as my website's QR Code on the right, seem to be starting to popup almost everywhere; yet in my opinion, most people know very little about them.
To briefly summarize what are QR Codes, here is their definition. First, QR Code stands for Quick Response Code. Second, QR Codes are simply two dimensional bar codes that can store more information than the more traditional one dimensional UPC bar codes that are on almost every product that we purchase.
In other words, QR Codes are basically new and improved bar codes. As with everything new, there are obvious and not-so obvious advantages and disadvantages that I think warrant review.
The Advantages of QR Codes
- Usage: The primary purpose of QR Codes is to transfer information. This information can fall into any number of categories, but the three primary uses for QR Codes appear to be marketing (such as product advertising, sales, and coupons), banking (such as store credit card numbers and bank account information), and basic information (such as phone numbers, URLs, and educational data).
- More Data: The main advantage of QR Codes over traditional UPC bar codes is that QR Codes can store much more data.
- Faster: The transfer rate of data using QR Codes is typically much faster than traditional bar codes.
- Creation: QR Codes are extremely quick and easy to create. For instance, it took about a minute to find a website that creates QR Codes, type in my website's URL, and for my website's QR Code to be created.
- Cost: In most cases, QR Codes are free to create. However, there is a minor monthly fee to attain and analyze QR Codes' usage reports.
- Traceable: Another major advantage is that QR Codes are traceable or track-able. In other words, it is easy to monitor how successful or not any particular QR Code is being used or not.
- Easy of Use: QR Codes can easily be printed on advertisements, products, and even free sample items, such as coffee mugs and t-shirts.
- Size: The small size of QR Codes means they can be added almost anywhere.
- Saves Paper: Using QR Codes instead of writing down information can save paper.
- Novelty: QR Codes appeal to the more mobile younger generation who are more inquisitive and willing to scan QR Codes.
The Disadvantages of QR Codes
- Low Benefit: A lot of QR Code users agree that most existing QR Codes provide low benefit to most people, especially since most QR Codes appear to be for marketing purposes.
- Low Adoption: QR Codes have very few users.
- Low Awareness: Too few people are even aware of what are QR Codes and how to scan them.
- Need Scanner: To scan a QR Code, users require a scanner, such as a smart phone.
- Need Software: Most smart phones do not have QR Code scanning software installed by default, so users have to find and install apps.
- Security: Most users do not know what information that they will be downloading when they scan a QR Code, such as maybe an URL to a malicious website or computer virus.
- Time and Effort: Scanning a QR Code requires too much time and effort for most users.
- Ugly: In my opinion, QR Codes are not attractive to look at.
As a result, QR Codes have several obvious advantages, yet they also have several disadvantages that could easily be approved upon. In my opinion, the two most important changes needed for improvement are creating more useful QR Codes that people want to scan and increasing awareness and usage.
by Phil for Humanity