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QR Codes On Your Business Card

QR Codes have become tremendously popular over the last few months.  Most companies use QR codes as a way to direct users to websites.  Users can scan a code with their mobile phone, and the phone directs the user to the marketer’s webpage.  The process saves the user time by eliminating the need for the user to type the web address into their phone.

QR Codes are two-dimensional machine readable images.  Much like normal barcodes, such as UPC codes, but with a much higher density of information, and significant redundancy/error correction.  Any simple text can be encoded in a QR Code and then read by a machine using a scanner or camera.

When I was doing some research on QR Codes I found they can be used for other purposes such as encoding VCARDs. VCARD files are simple contact or address book files saved as plain text.  Most address book applications can save and open VCARD files with ease.  Many QR scanner applications recognize QR codes with VCARDs as the encoded text.

So, when I was designing my most recent personal business card I though it would be a neat idea to include a QR encoded VCARD on them.

The first step was getting a VCARD.  Unfortunately this was not an easy task. Although there is a standard for VCARDs, most software applications interpret the standard differently, especially as related to the phone number.  It is worth mentioning that if too much information is in the VCARD text, the QR Code will get denser, and thus harder for phones to read.  Through some trial and error, I ended up with this VCARD:

BEGIN:VCARD
N;LANGUAGE=en-us:Hayes;Ed
EMAIL;INTERNET:ed@edhayes.us
TEL;CELL:440-263-4420
URL:http://www.edhayes.us
ADR:;;;CHICAGO;IL;;
END:VCARD

Any decent QR encoding software should be able to encode this.  I used the one available at http://invx.com/code.  Make sure the encoder encodes the text as the QR code, rather than encoding a URL that directs the user to a page displaying the text.

Finally I placed the encoded QR code image on my business card.   Now, when I give my card to someone, they can scan it with their phone, and my contact gets added to their address book.  Not only does this ensure that there are no typos, it’s much easier for the user to enter my contact information by scanning an image rather than typing on a tiny keyboard.

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  1. December 23, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Thank for sharing. Recently I see many manufacturers added qr codes which link to their website to ads or leaflets, but few people think to print qr code on their business card. It’s a good idea.

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