How to Create Online 2D Barcodes for Your Mobile Site

The term QR code seems almost synonymous with 2D barcode because the use of QR codes is free of any license fees, dozens of websites and services make it easy to create QR codes, and most mobile devices include a camera capable of reading them.

Use an online service to create a QR code. Here are a few to get you started:

  • KAYWA: The service generates all the code you need. Just enter your information and click the Generate! button and you can create a QR code that links to a URL, sends a text message, calls a phone number, or sends an SMS.

  • Chrome Extensions: Search this site and you find several QR code extensions, including the QR Code Generator, by Oscar Fröberg. You can also find QR code extensions for Firefox.

  • SnapTag: SnapTag, developed by Spyderlynk, is challenging the clumsy black-and-white barcode design of the old days and making it possible to create barcodes around a logo or graphic. The information is encoded in the breaks in the lines in the circle around the logo at the center of the tag.

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No matter which service you use to create a barcode or tag, you can create codes with a variety of options, including:

  • A text message is sent, such as a special offer: “Save 20% if you buy in the next 10 minutes.”

  • A menu opens, giving visitors the option to save contact information to their devices.

  • A video begins in the video player automatically.

  • The Safari web browser opens a linked website.

The list of ways to use barcodes continues to grow. Here are a few examples to illustrate ways these codes are already being used:

  • In San Francisco, Scanbuy partnered with Citysearch to produce QR codes that were placed in the windows of 580 restaurants. Customers with the ScanLife software on their phones can point their phone’s cameras at the code in the window. As soon as the software recognizes the code, the phone displays a Citysearch review and information about available food and drinks.

  • Not to be outdone, Antenna Audio has QR codes at tourist attractions in San Francisco. Users can point their phones’ cameras at the codes and are treated to an audio tour of the site and an explanation of its history.

  • Newspapers, such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, run QR codes alongside concert reviews and sports stories. When readers point their phone cameras at the code, their phones open a page where readers can buy and download songs that the reviewed band played or browse jerseys of teams that played in the game.

  • The magazine Get Married uses the Microsoft Tag engine, which makes it possible to create color QR codes instead of the mostly black-and-white codes. Another advantage of using Microsoft tags is that you can turn almost any picture into a QR code, making the codes far more visually appealing. Get Married now includes Microsoft tag QR codes in nearly every ad in its print and online editions.

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