Monday, June 6, 2011

What are QR Codes and How will we use them?

URL to Buy Honeybun Sheik

SMS Message

I just got back from Lori Foster's Reader and Author Get Together and it was GREAT fun! One of the many things I noted/learned over the weekend was the very creative and fun use of the QR Code by one author. She created a t-shirt with her website on the front and her QR Code on the back. It was very clever and effective. And I hope the author doesn't mind if I copy the idea! #:0)

I'd been vaguely aware of the concept, having listened with half an ear over the last few weeks to discussions of magical new purchasing options, whereby the ever useful smart phone can be waved in front of some kind of code to purchase items, but I knew nothing about the details.

While I am certainly no expert on this technology, my research tells me that, what these codes actually do is provide a quick and easy way to access online content and further information about an object. The codes are being used in marketing, gaming, contests, promotional efforts for movies, books, songs, etc. 

All of this tells me that the QR Code will be important to authors and readers alike in the future. So how do you become an effective QR Code user? There are two parts to using QR Codes effectively: Creating the Code with the important information, and getting the software that allows you to read/access the information on codes.

Text about Honeybun Sheik
QR Codes can be generated for a URL, textual content, a phone number, an SMS message, social media profiles, vcards, PayPal buy links, Google maps, etc. You can use them for contests, to share favorite songs on iTunes or artwork, and to notify people about events. The possibilities are endless. You'll notice the samples I've provided on this blog are different sizes. The code reflects the amount of information you input when creating it.

If you Google QR Code generators you get lots of options, most of which are free and very simple to use. For the samples I created here, I used and .

Now that you have your QR Code created, you need to be able to read it! #:0) For that, you'll need a Smart phone. There are apps available for iPhones and the Android. For the iPhone, open your iStore and search for Red Laser, which reads both bar codes and QR code. We tried a couple of the free ones and that one seemed to work the best. Download the app and sync up your phone. Open the app, press the lightning bolt at the bottom, and position the screen over the code, inside the field they give you. It will click and ask if you want to open any links or just supply the text embedded within the code. Magic! #:0) I don't have an Android so I can't tell you how to get your reader for that, but hopefully you can figure it out!

Now go out there and fun with your new tools!

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