Disadvantages of a Quick Response Bar Code

Written by rob callahan
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Disadvantages of a Quick Response Bar Code
Older smart phones, such as these, may not read quick response bar codes. (smart phones image by Jon Le-Bon from Fotolia.com)

Quick response bar codes are two-dimensional arrangements of black-and-white square modules that display encoded information. The information stored may include contact information, such as phone numbers and websites, specific data about the product or device on which the bar code is placed, text or simple instructions that your phone or portable device will do after processing the information on the bar code. One common application of quick response bar codes is directing your phone's mobile browser to specific url.

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Limited Compatibility

Not all phone models can take advantage of quick response bar codes. Users of older phones and phones that do not have some of the more complex features and operations associated with smart phone technology may find quick response bar codes difficult or impossible to utilise, due to their phone's inability to process the image.

Personal Security

You may find it useful to embed your phone number, business address or other contact information into a quick response bar code to facilitate the fast transfer of this information to new personal and professional contacts you meet. By scanning a bar code placed on the back of your phone, your new contacts can import your information directly to their phones without having to carry a pen and paper to write it down, and without worry about misplacing the information later. Unfortunately, any time your quick response bar code is exposed, anyone who is nearby with a compatible smart phone may obtain your information. This could lead to problems with stalking or harassment from strangers.

Unreadable Code Colors

A quick response bar code should be made from two distinct colours. Black and white are common, but are not the only colours you can choose. If a quick response bar code is being printed into an existing packaging design that doesn't already incorporate both black and white, the cost of printing can rise by including additional colours. Black on an all-yellow background works as well, and very light Pantone colours should also work, provided there is high-enough contrast. Other colours, such as cyan and magenta, produce a bar code that is difficult or impossible for most cameras to read. Screened tints also create some difficulty in reading, so only solid colours should be used.

Size and Older Camera Compatibility

To accommodate the low-resolution cameras found in older smart phones, the minimum recommended size for a quick response bar code is 32 square millimetres, or about one-and-one-quarter inch. This can create problems if you want to place a quick response bar code on something small, such as some smaller personal media players and flash drives. While newer cameras may successfully read a quick response bar code less than a half an inch wide, bar codes of this size will fail to execute on many of the older phones.

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