QR codes have been around a long time, since 1994 to be specific. While the QR code originated almost 30 years ago, the concept was slow to catch on with the general public.
According to an article by QRcode-tiger.com, in 2011 only 6.2 percent of smartphone users in the United States had ever scanned a QR code. In 2012, another study revealed 97 percent of us didn’t even know what a QR code was. The lackluster acceptance extended beyond the United States. In 2015, only 9 percent of the German population had ever scanned one.
But things have changed
Now, every restaurant we visit lets us view the menu by scanning a QR code. The pandemic led to the temporary removal of traditional menus touched by customer after customer. One scan of a QR code lets us view the same menu on the phone.
How could you use QR codes in your daily life?
If you’re an artist displaying your work in a gallery, there’s likely a story behind every piece of art, and you likely have those stories in blog posts or pages on your website. Display a QR code next to each item. Scanning the QR code takes the person to the page that displays the story.
Was your business featured in an online journal or online newspaper? Create a QR code that takes people to the article. Proudly display the QR code on the front door or in the lobby.
Are you giving a presentation and want your handout to be digital? As long as that handout has a URL, you’re in luck (and with Evernote or Google Drive, that part is easy). At the bottom of the handout, create a QR code that takes people to the handout. Instead of reading out a long URL for people to type, stand at the door and let the first few people scan the QR code from your phone. They are now looking at the handout. They can scroll to the bottom of that handout where you have the QR code. Others now scan the code with their phones. In a couple of minutes, the entire roomful of people has the handout.
Do you want to be able to access digital owner’s manuals for large appliances? Create a QR code for each manual. Download and tape the QR code somewhere on the appliance.
Are you a teacher and want to annotate the teacher’s edition of your textbook with links to videos, documents, or other digital resources?
Create a QR code for each resource. Download the QR codes and shrink each one to a fairly small size. Print and tape the QR codes into the teacher’s manual at the appropriate places.
How can you make your own QR codes?
We’ve always been able to search Google for “QR code generator” and find good candidates. But there’s something ridiculously convenient you probably haven’t noticed. If you use Google Chrome, the next time you’re viewing a website, click in the address bar. To the right of the address, do you see a small icon that looks like four dots enclosed in a rectangle? Click it. You just created a QR code for the webpage you are on! You’ll also see a button to download that QR code. You can now print it or copy/paste it anywhere!
In the companion blog post, I have other suggestions for creating your own QR codes. You’ll find the post at this URL: https://frankbuck.org/qr-codes. Or, you can scan this QR code:
Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders. "Global Gurus Top 30" named him No. 1 in the Time Management category for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Dr. Buck speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach him through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.