A personalized QR code, or quick response code, contains information specific to an individual or organization, such as web addresses, contact information, photos, or other bits of data. Mobile phone users, provided the individual has an appropriate application, can scan QR codes to gain instant access to web pages and other information without writing anything down. Making a personalized QR code can be done in one of two ways: by hand generating or by using a QR code generator online. Numerous website and organizations offer personalized QR code generation online, with varying costs, benefits, and drawbacks.
Hand coding a personalized QR code is not something the average person or company has the knowledge or technology to accomplish. Quick response codes are two-dimensional bar codes that use a matrix of black modules to mask symbols, alphanumeric information or binary information. Creating such bar codes requires extensive knowledge of the character sets, error correction levels, and code versions used. As such, most organizations and individuals use code generating software offered by a third party to create a personalized QR code.
Depending on the application used, generating a personalized QR code can be as simple as inputting data, such as a web address or a text message, into a dialog box. Private individuals can create a QR code for virtually any kind of data in a matter of minutes, often for no charge. More advanced quick response codes, such as those used for business purposes, typically incur a nominal fee. Professionally produced QR codes also typically include more data, as well as the ability to track response rates, thus necessitating some form of compensation for the creator.
In terms of personalized QR codes for individuals, various generators ask for different information to input into the code. For example, one generator might simply require a user to select the data type and enter the necessary information on a web page. Other generators may not ask for data type, opting instead to recognize data based on text input typed into an online form. Regardless of the required information, individuals typically do not have to do anything more than fill out a form and request their personalized QR code. Corresponding bar codes are then downloaded or emailed to the user.
Individuals interested in creating a personalized QR code should consider a few factors prior to using a free code generator online. Primarily, free generators may not produce a clean QR code, meaning there may be unknown or undisclosed marketing links included in the personalized QR code. Not all generators disclose the use of marketing links, especially when the QR code is given away for free. Additionally, users may unintentionally expose each other to risks, since there is no way to determine the contents of a particular QR code just by looking at it.