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What is a QR Code? (and 4 other things you should know about them)

QR code ourchurch
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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QR code ourchurchHave you seen these odd looking black and white squares (like the one displayed here) in magazines, on signs, and online? They’re called QR codes, and they have the potential to do some remarkable things for your organization.

What is a QR code?

A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode, which has encoded in it a URL (web address), text, or other information. It can be read by a QR code scanner, including QR scanner smartphone apps.

How can I read a QR code?

If you have a smartphone, go to the app store and search for a QR code reader. You’ll find several free apps. Run the app and then hold your phone’s camera over a QR code to read it. Most QR codes you’ll come across have a URL encoded, so chances are when you read the QR code it will take you to a web page.

What’s the point of QR codes?

QR codes link offline information to online content, effectively providing additional information and even multimedia to an offline experience. If you’ve created print material that included a URL for more information, a QR code for that URL could also be added to enable smartphone users to go directly to that web page without having to type in the web address.

Where are QR codes being used?

QR Code - Cracker Country, Florida State FairQR codes are already being used on product packaging, magazine articles and ads, ads on buses, museum exhibits, and business cards.

I was recently at the Florida State Fair and saw them using QR codes like the one shown in this picture, in “Cracker Country,” the area devoted to Florida History. The QR code links to a 2 minute audio file, which gives more information about the exhibit. (Below is a close-up view of the QR Code for the Kitchen Garden which you can scan if you want to try it out.)

How do I create a QR code?

QR Code - Cracker Country, Florida State FairQR code-generating sites include Kaywa, Qurify and Delivr. The Google URL Shortener will also create a QR code file from a shortened link — just click Details to see the image file.

Tomorrow, I’m going to post several ways churches can use QR codes to help people.

Where have you seen QR codes? Have you scanned QR codes with your phone? If so, have you found them useful?

Oh, and speaking of mobile apps, if you have already done so, please Take the Ultimate Church Mobile App Survey.

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

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