Designers, advertising and marketing agencies, and printing companies can now save time and money by producing more effective QR codes, thanks to a new test service from the Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communication (VIGC).
QR codes are becoming increasingly popular because they enhance print jobs with extra information, such as web links or event information. However, a VIGC study revealed that less than one quarter of QR codes that it found in advertisements, magazines and brochures was readable with an average smartphone. This prompted the VIGC to launch its new QR Code Test Service, which will help producers improve the effectiveness of their QR codes.
“There are lots of really nice things you can do with QR codes,” says Eddy Hagen, General Manager of VIGC. “As a minimum you can include a web link so people can find out more about a product, service or event. You can provide your contact details and even add the location of your office to within one meter.
“But all of this is a waste of time if the QR code isn’t readable – and this is where many QR codes fail.”
Research into QR code readability
The VIGC tested dozens of QR codes in adverts, magazines and brochures, and found that more than 75% could not be read by an average smartphone.
The test found that the QR codes were only readable with newer, more expensive smartphones, which had better focusing and zooming capabilities.
“The new phones performed better, though even some of these didn’t find it easy to read the codes,” adds Hagen. “Not being able to instantly read a QR code is a killer – people will only try it once before giving up.”
VIGC QR code test and report
The VIGC QR Code Test Service uses multiple smartphones – both older and newer models – and different types of QR reader software to provide the most accurate and comprehensive test results.
Companies that take advantage of the VIGC QR Code Test Service will receive a report on how their codes performed and, where appropriate, some suggestions on how they could be improved.