Barcodes have revolutionized our ability to share and spread digital information through physical means with speed and discretion and are now a staple of internet marketing and wireless communication everywhere. But for QR codes to be successful, they need QR Code Scanner tools to be effectively interpreted.
Must-Have Properties of QR Reader Tools
As QR code usage has become ubiquitous, the number of barcode readers designed to analyze them has similarly exploded. However, not all tools might have the same level of efficacy when it comes to reading obscure codes. With that in mind, a QR code scanner must possess some basic abilities in order to be considered a useful resource.
1. Versatile Scanning Capabilities
Barcodes, along with being unique, are available in a number of forms. These include 1D barcodes (consisting of the traditional vertical bars) as well as custom QR codes that can be multicolored, contain personalized text or logos, or all of the above.
Even conventional 2D QR codes can differ in the number of rows and columns of black and white squares (modules) contained in a single code. A good QR code reader should be able to decipher each of these types of codes. This is usually true of 2D scanners, whereas 1D scanners can only read 1D codes.
Not all codes are printed on physical items like labels or cards. Some can be available online as image files, which QR scanning tools must have the capacity to upload and decode regardless of format (JPEG, PNG, WEBP, etc.) and with a generous size limit.
QR codes can be used to encode different types of material. These include URLs, contact numbers, passwords, or simple text. The amount of data they can store varies and can be measured in byte size or character count. In any case, QR code scanners must be able to reveal and present all of these different media.
Easy to Use
Being able to be utilized by someone with basic technical skills should be a crucial feature of any good QR code scanner. Barcode scanning software is needed for basic, uncomplicated functions. Therefore, it should be straightforward and unburdened with any additional overkill features that lead to inconvenience.
2. Instant Response
In marketing and link-sharing, time is of the essence. The entire appeal of QR codes is based on their “Quick Response” (yes, that’s what it stands for) upon being scanned. Therefore, provided that the code itself is readable, a scanning tool should be able to respond immediately upon detecting it without a millisecond to spare.
3. Device Compatibility
You never know what device you have at hand when the need or opportunity to scan a code presents itself. That’s why the best QR code readers can be used on any number of appliances like smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.
Basically, any device that has a half-decent camera should be a suitable platform for a good QR code scanner. Even if the camera isn’t HD-enabled, the bold, contrasting design of the QR code shouldn’t be difficult to distinguish for a competent scanning tool.
4. Free and Offline Function
In keeping with the theme of convenience, technology that is designed to read QR codes should be readily accessible and free of cost. A dedicated, open-source scanning app is obviously superior to a more convoluted server that charges you extra for its barcode reading tool. And even for free tools, ad-free service should be a bare minimum.
But besides being available “on the house”, a good QR code scanner should be available in the absence of the internet, even if the encoded message is a link. That’s why many good scanning tools are available to download as verified and (again) free desktop or phone applications.
5. Discreet and Secure
Privacy is a growing concern when it comes to digital media, and QR codes certainly make it easier to mobilize sensitive content without the risk of hacking.
However, to prevent your confidential links from reaching the wrong hands, QR code scanners should be able to scan codes without sharing them with third-party sites or saving them onto their own servers. Those that do save scanned codes should at least come with the option to delete them manually or automatically after a certain period.
If you’re worried that your code redirects to a malicious link, make sure that your device is equipped with AdBlock or antivirus software for your own protection.
On their end, QR and other barcodes certainly have their advantages and seemingly unlimited applications. However, without the tools to actually translate them, they’re useless.
As we’ve discussed, a great QR code scanner shouldn’t just be able to scan a variety of barcodes but must do so quickly, accurately, and with convenience and security in mind.
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