MOUNT VERNON — In an age when technology is moving at light speed, one of the latest innovations in electronic media is the use of the Quick Response Code. Known as QR codes, these are a special matrix barcode that consist of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background and are often placed on advertisements, fast food containers and even retail merchandise for a variety of purposes. When scanned by a reader, QR codes can contain a large amount of information programmed in by its creator. Many QR codes are used to open up an advertiser’s website.
“They’re a lot easier and quicker than typing in a URL address on the computer,” said News advertising designer Josh Worster.
Similar to a barcode used by retail shopping scanners to receive prices, QR codes contain information in both a vertical and horizontal axis. To take advantage of the QR codes, you would have to have a Smartphone with a camera and an application, such as the Android or the iPhone. The Smartphone would scan the QR image and use the corresponding application to display the stored information.
The QR code can then perform a number of different functions such as dial a telephone number, send you to a website, send a text message, display a map, provide you with a coupon or give some kind of instructions to receive a special discount or even be able to use wireless Internet at a specific location.
“They’re great for marketing. They can pack so much more data in a little image. By using the right device, you can get some great savings on all sorts of stuff,” said Joshua Morrison, News web designer.
A QR code has recently been used in the Mount Vernon News. By scanning the image on the News advertisement, readers could be taken to the News website, the E-edition home page or the photo shop home page. A recent QR code in an advertisement from the Parkside Restaurant pulls up a map showing readers how to get to their restaurant.
Local businesses can take advantage of a QR code by sending readers to their website, providing them with a money-saving coupon, registering them for free giveaways or just being able to send advertising material to them. And it’s all done in a very small amount of space. “It does make people curious when they see them,” said Worster.
“It’s fairly new technology. Not everybody is going to be able to take advantage of this right now,” said Morrison. “But people use them. People like the idea of being able to scan something and seeing what it is. It’s somewhat of an advertising gimmick but is also used as a tool to expand your local brand.”