QR codes as infrastructure
Earlier this week we reported on the launch of QR codes along the Conwy section of the Wales Coast Path. The initiative makes use of barcode and wi-fi technology to add value to the experience of coast path walkers by including environmental and historical information. Walking routes are obvious candidates for the development of in situ QR codes and mobile apps. Many of the ideas brought forward by the Ordnance Survey's "Geovation Challenge - Connecting Communities and Visitors along the Wales Coast Path" were dependent on mobile technology. (The Geovation Challenge closed in May and the winners will be announced in July. To view the shortlist, click here.) There a many similar projects in development in Wales; and the same principles are being employed to provide self-guided tours in cities and heritage sites across the world.
But QR codes are not just about information infrastructure. With a little thought, even the smallest business can make use of QR codes and the potential for information sharing that is part of the mobile world.
QR codes and small businesses
A few easy-to-implement ideas for your own QR codes. When displaying QR codes, it is useful to add a caption that explains what they are! The most effective QR codes will link to pages that are optimised for mobile platforms. As always, content is king - and good content will attract the attention of search engines.
* In 2010 I added a selection from my photo library to my old web site (now undergoing redevelopment) in the form of photo itineraries that cover sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in line of march from Pwllgwaelod to Solva. Purely by chance the page layout lent itself reasonably well to the upcoming generation of smartphones. QR codes were generated for each of the six pages of images and were used by several local businesses. So if you have a photo gallery on your website, why not use QR codes to direct visitors to your page(s), add to your destination sell and, incidentally, add to the destination marketing cloud.
* I was intrigued to see a customer in my local hostelry taking great pains to photograph each page of the menu on his smartphone. It seems that he was mailing the pics to members of a group that he had arranged to meet later that evening, so that they could pre-order their meals. A QR code on the menu would have made his life much easier!
* QR codes can be printed on business stationery, display material and merchandise and link to a web page that addresses the interests of customers and majors on promotional information:
- Special Offers
- Forthcoming events
- Local news
- Press and broadcast media coverage
- YouTube and other video/content sharing sites
* Always remember that QR codes work dynamically: the content displayed will change each time the web landing page is updated. You might even think about creating a number of landing pages and generating QR codes for a range of applications/audiences.
A step-by-step guide
Worth repeating from the earlier post, we thought. With your landing page in place it should take less than a minute to generate code using Keram Erkan, one of many free industry standard applications available.
- Set up a page on your web site as a QR code landing page.
- To generate a QR code, click here.
- Select Code Action 'Browse to a Web Site'.
- Enter your landing page URL (as displayed in the Address Bar in your browser)
- Click on 'Generate Code'.
- Save the resulting QR code to your computer.
You will now have an image that can be converted to any format and scaled to any size for use in an application of your choice.
And finally, back to the bigger picture ...
A demonstration is worth a thousand words. Read the copy, watch the video and check out the add-ons.
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