A Lesson in QR Code Density

Dense QR Code exampleLast week my colleague Amy Sullivan, VP of Insight at Delvinia and myself presented a webinar on 2D Barcodes. One of several best practices that we covered was optimizing the density of your QR Code. We used this poster for the upcoming Photographic Video & Digital Imaging Show as an example of ‘what not to do’ with a QR Code.

Today I found a full size version of the poster (the previous version may have been downsized) and managed to scan it with success. I was quite disappointed to find that all it contained were the beginning and end dates of the show – these dates were already very prominent on the poster itself.

First of all, I would liked to have seen the QR Code send me to a mobile version of the show website, where I could view the schedule and exhibitors. In addition, It would have been great to see the show organizers provide a discount on admission for users who go to the trouble of scanning the code.

Embedding data within a QR Code

2D barcodes such as QR codes are embedded with information that when scanned trigger an event on your mobile phone. This event is usually a redirect to a URL, hopefully a ‘page’ optimized for the mobile web. It is essential that the information embedded in the URL be kept as short and to the point as possible.

QR Code Density Example

It should be obvious to anyone that the QR Code on the far left is much, much simpler. The URL has been shortened and there is simply less information to embed. The example in the middle contains a long Google link, and the one on the right contains all the information in a Vcard. Just because a QR Code can handle a lot of data doesn’t mean you should use it all.

Why keep things simple?

If you are going to all the trouble of working with a QR Code then you need to make it usable by as many people as possible. Users with older mobile devices with lower resolution cameras need as clear an image to scan as possible. Simplicity is the rule for any execution of a QR code that has data embedded within it.

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