MMP6: EZ QR 4 U2 Do!

Cliff Jenkins 
Video Manager, Xavier University

The audio for this podcast can be downloaded at

Announcer: This is one in a series of podcasts from the HighEdWeb Conference in Austin, 2011.

Cliff Jenkins: Hi, guys. Can you guys hear me? Can everybody hear me? I really don’t need the speakers; it’s just for the computer to talk to you as well. My name is Cliff Jenkins, I’m from Xavier University. I’m the video manager there. And welcome to EZ QR 4 U2 Do. Again, my Twitter handle is cliffyballgame, so I don’t go by Cliff this week. I go by cliffyballgame.

And I’m the video manager, which means I take care of all the video efforts at Xavier. And you’re the video manager, why do you like QR? Well, I started enjoying QR back a long time ago at a former job where I was more of a Web person interactive media manager.

So what we’re going to talk about today, we’re going to talk and get a general knowledge of what QR code is, a little bit of history, how to create a QR, how to use QR effectively and how to customize a QR.


You can do a lot of really cool stuff with QR and I’m sure most of you have seen already. Who’s worked with QR before? Show of hands. All right. So QR is developed by a subsidiary of Toyota called Denso-Wave; a bunch of engineers got together and hey needed a reason to scan boxes full of parts at a very high speed.

So what they did was they developed a QR code that can handle 7,000 bouquet of information, whereas, the conventional barcode was handling like just eight or nine letters. QR, you can stuff a lot of information to a QR. So they need that… had to be small to fit on varying sizes of packages and Denso still holds the patent for QR but they released the code for creating QR. So they really don’t enforce that patent anymore, but they’re still the owners of it.


So QR code entered the marketplace in Japan in 2002. They’re very technical savvy people, so it took on very quickly there. It spread to the U.S. few years later and QR generators now…you can Google QR generators and you’ll get pages and pages of QR generators. It has grown here in terms of generation; adoption here is a little bit slower.

So QR can do. So QR can do URLs. You can generate email addresses, contact information. You can generate social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Goala, Foursquare, Kirchick is not here. I haven’t found one that can do Scavenger yet. You can check in and tweet through there. You can do the phone number and get maps. There’s some QR generators that integrate with Google Maps and you can show your location via the code.

The three examples that I’m going to show today, really easy and very straightforward is quiQR,, They have a good social integration and a good backend in terms of analytics.


Custom analytics is not like a bitly or Google Analytics and qrstuff. You can do some basic customization of QR setting color, but you really can’t put in a picture or anything like that.

OK, quiQR, here’s the basic layout for quiQR. Like I said, it’s very straightforward. You can download their QR reader from the apps store. Create really basic QRs, a map, a phone number, a text. It’s very straightforward. I like them because they were the first ones that I found to do Foursquare integration. You enter the venue number and they would generate a code that would launch Foursquare on your mobile phones so you could check in automatically. It made it a little bit easier for that and it kind of kicked off an idea that I had in my old employer., YouScan, this is the one I’m talking about. It really has a really nice analytics on the backend.


Also has the really nice social networking integration with Goala and Foursquare. You want to sell an item on eBay, you do that as well.

And here is the backend. This is the Xavier…Doug, we have the Xavier University QR code, so we can use that at anytime. So you let me know. But if you notice, I just created and I haven’t really released it yet, but you can get the Excel spreadsheet exports and whatnot from that and in Again, you select what you want in your QR code, put in your URL and you get to select the color and explore it that way.

Now, the problem with these is that they all export as PNGs or you do a screen capture, you save download, and what it does is it gives you a JPG file that you do a screen capture on and then you can plug that in. It doesn’t export it as a PDF for AI file. So then you can go on and do further customization, but I’ll show you how to do that in just a little bit.


There’s another site, believe it or not, that does that. I know, a shocker. OK, and there…the two URL shorteners that are very popular right now, and Google shorteners, they both offer QR a couple of clicks through after you shorten a link. I use personally and we did a campaign for Xavier Athletics where if you scan the QR code on a print piece in the newspaper, then you would…one athletics will get your information, but then, you could enter to win some season tickets from Xavier, which with the 15th rank basketball team in the country they made a nice deal.

QR sucks. No, really. Right now the way people are using QR, QR sucks. I can think of some really bad examples of why QR sucks and there are ways to make QR suck less.


So QR suffering from a “me too” crisis right now or everyone is doing it where you see a QR code. People who really don’t understand QR can find an easy generator and they can slap QR on a newspaper ad and think, oh, yeah, we’re done. Let’s see everybody come. So they want to look hippier or techier. They really kind of look stupid.

QR suffering, taking the QR user for granted. So what they’re doing is slapping up there, they’re not telling you how to use it, where it’s going to take you, what you should use to scan it. Again, I’ll explain a little bit. And saturation rights still really people still need to be instructed on how to use this stuff. And using an imaginative way as we’ll see.

You’ve got to offer people something. Scanning with mobile results in a full website. So you’re on your mobile phone, you scan the code, that’s the one way you can really scan it, seeing the code right now but it’s going to take you to the full website, which it doesn’t really work.


It needs to take you to the mobile website, but more often that not, you’ll probably go to the full website. And no reward. So you’ve taken all this time to go in, select your app if you’ve got an iPhone, open up your camera.


Cliff Jenkins: Focus on that QR code and it either doesn’t read or it just takes you to something that’s a dead end and you don’t get anything for your hard work, so then you get PO’d and you go away and you don’t do anything with it.

And there’s another reason why QR is failing right now, it’s because native camera integration, I think it takes too long to pull up your app to scan a code. You walk in on a street, bang, and you want to hit it and you want to go. You don’t want to sit there and wait for the app to load and scan it.

iPhone still does not have this available. You still have to open the app. Android now, correct me if I’m wrong, but Android is natively scanning QR code when you open your camera. Yes?


Anybody on 'droid? Oh, the Goggles handles it.

Yeah. Yeah, Google is kind of…the Goggles is a pretty good app. Yeah, yeah. It’s a while. OK, so here’s what’s going on. So you can’t post the code without some instruction or a way to load an app to read it. There’s still a learning curve like I said. When showing QR, this company, Dubit Research, did a study with 11 to 18-year-olds, they released their study in March of 2011. They catered to 1,000, 18-year-olds, and 43% of the teens knew what it was.

Some people didn’t answer that they didn’t know, but 90% admitted that they had no idea of what that was. So there’s still a learning curve there. Seventy-eight percent don’t have necessary software to read the QR, so you have to instruct the people to download the app and if you instruct them they’ll probably do it.


And even though they didn’t know what it was, 74% of kids, future students who were going to be our customers, thought that they were worthwhile. So it doesn’t make…I consider it to be worthwhile to go ahead and start investing in QR because eventually, I think the market will pick up if you have the nuggets for them.

And 8% of girls thought the QR was a magic eye picture. You know the things that you go up to, and let’s see if we can get this one. Anybody see anything? I was told this is a picture of Justin Bieber. Oh, there it is. Yeah.


Cliff Jenkins: OK, QR case study. So like I was saying, in my old employer before I left and went to Xavier, I was starting to integrate a self-guided tour. I had seen people walk around our campus and try to take a self-guided tour, but doors were locked, people getting frustrated, they didn’t know where to start, they didn’t know where to go, they didn’t know what was in front of them.


And so, I thought, wouldn’t it be a great idea if we had a way that people could see more of our campus without our admissions councilors there and it is all in the visit. When you go to a school, that’s usually the point where someone is going to decide either yes or no they’re going to go to your school.

So I thought it would be a good idea to find a way to make a self-guided tour more interactive. And so, this is what we did. So I proposed to have signage all around our campus, strategic points there and so you would go and you’d find that code, you’d scan a code. And what that would do is it would give you…it will take you to a page on our Web server, obviously, off the nav but you could see either a video, you could listen to audio and it would also take you to the next stop on tour.


And I propose that you could stop by the front desk and pick up a handout if the admissions office was closed or whatever. And then you could take the tour, scan the code, and you’ll get some nuggets. At least something instead of going and watching and finding a locked door.

So custom QR, QR code can be tricked out. I’ve seen some really awesome QR codes, I’ve seen some really bad QR codes. But it can be tricked out, you can do custom colors. The good thing about QR is there is a 30% error rate that’s built into QR code. So you can actually use up a lot of the real estate on QR code and it will still work.

I find it to be an amazing thing. So you can insert images or graphics, but you must remember that the QR must be high contrast. People have started playing with the colors of QR code and they’re not making them contrasting enough or they’re changing the shape of the, what’s called the base of the QR code, which are those three big squares in the corners of the QR code.

12:07 They’ll change the shape of that and it just negates the codes. They spent a lot of time making this code and it’s a fail. OK, so there’s a site called BeQrious. This is one of my favorite QR sites. They don’t do a whole lot. They have a pretty good social tool, but BeQrious is the one that you can go and create the QR code to export it as a PDF. So here’s all the social options. So if you have a YouTube account you put the YouTube on there, vimeo, WordPress, I’m still waiting for them to get the Goala on there.

So when you do it, so what you do is you put your QR information in there and what it does is this little iPhone is on that right hand side, if you can see. It’s the little iPhones down on the right hand side. And as you enter the text in there, it’ll automatically start changing this QR code for you. Let’s make one.

Come on. Thank you. So you go to their generator, so let’s build one that leads people to

Audience 2: No.

Cliff Jenkins: Oh, you’re killing me.



Cliff Jenkins: All right. So we see a pop-up here. It’s a little more than what we had before. So what you could do is just save it as a PDF or you can embed it with the source code right there into your page. But if you export it as a PDF, you’re going to export that, you can import that into Illustrator and then you can go in and…it takes time, but you can go into every little square or you can select it all and find the black color and change it to whatever color you want.

But what I’ve done before is we’ve rounded the corners, we’ve put images in there, we pulled some QR out, and made a buffer around our image and whatnot. You can also save it as a GIF, as always. You can also enter specific YouTube videos, text, whatnot, phone. The graphical, you can pull a Google Map in right there or you can do a picture. So you can get a…usually ask you to make a square picture and it automatically adjust it to a 50 x 50 pixels


And I’ll drop it in your QR codes. It’s that little silly little Justin Bieber picture that was done here. But I prefer to do it myself because it makes a much better picture. And of course, there’s your…we’re, nowhere near here. Where are we? Oh, we’re nowhere near here, but if we wanted to create code, you just select your spot on the map, create code, and you’re off and running.

Here we go. Where are we? We’re in Austin. Here we are. It’s nice being by the river, you don’t have to really guess where you are, right? Steve Ray Vaughan tribute statue.


So that’s where we’d be if you want to enter that on your tour or help people get on their way or find it…find a spot. All right. So this is a custom QR that I camped up for the Athletics Department. It takes you to the Go Xavier site, our athletics site. Again, export as PDF when in, change all the squares to round, he didn’t like round so I made them all square again, and put our athletic logo into the middle of it.

There’s QR code behind here. I just dropped the X on top of it and then just created a little buffer. I took some of the squares out here so you could find your…see our logo better. So here’s some more really, really cool custom QR.


This brainy one. It actually works. It’s kind of nuts. This is the BeQrious QR code, of course. That won’t scan on my phone because it could not find the anchors. Subway - the Subway actually worked. Their anchors were uniform and it actually worked. But the Yellow Book one, I find it didn’t work. Anybody want to try and see if this works?

You got through that? Oh, you’re too far away. Let me try again. This is a little brighter. Did yours scan?


Let me get my arm anyway.

Audience 3: It’s trying to pick up from the other one too.

Cliff Jenkins: Let’s go to the light, too. See what I mean? I think their anchors squares have gotten off. So they lost integrity of their square. So the Subway one works for me.

Audience 3: The Subway ones...

Cliff Jenkins: So test your code, ladies and gentlemen. Test your code. After you make it…yeah, the Subway one worked for me. If you have an iPhone, the AT&T QR reader is awesome. It’s so fast. It pulls down QR faster than any app that I have. I’ve got a quiQR, RedLaser, and a few more. So bad examples of QR.



Cliff Jenkins: Why would this be a bad example of QR code? Go back around. Sorry. So, yeah. QR on busses.


Cliff Jenkins: I don’t want to do that either. There’s lots of examples of Q…

Audience 4: I don’t want them in the middle of the subway when your car…why do people do it in the subway?

Cliff Jenkins: On the subway cars?

Audience 4: No, no, no, no. In the like third rail. The subway, it’s in the tunnel like from the opposite side of the…Yes, but it’s too small.

Cliff Jenkins: Oh, it is? Well, then size does matter, then that doesn’t.

Audience 4: I guess so.

Cliff Jenkins: Yeah, it’s funny. I was looking at bad QR examples and a lot of people had posted that posting QR in train stations underground is really not a good idea.


That’s not going to take me anywhere. You can read it but, yeah, it’s going to go anywhere. So posting underground is not a really good idea either. Billboards, bad. Bad, bad. OK, here’s another bad example of QR code.

[Video playing]

Speaker 1: Are we on? Welcome to meet Carl. I work at the Mystery Tattoo Club in Paris, France. So I’m just going to give you a quick hello. Let’s get Marco shaved and cleaned. We’re going to do a tattoo on Marco.


We’re going to be doing something that’s never been done before, which we’ll be able, we hope, with the matrix code, be able to link to an animation of that tattoo. It should be the first ever animated tattoo. I’m going to set up our tattoo machines.

Marco: OK.

Speaker 1: Let’s see. Let’s start off with this bad boy. Little computer so I can interact with you guys? All right, Marco?

Marco: Ready.

Speaker 1: Here we go. Let’s see, hopefully with the animation, everything works. And I’m not 100% sure it will. We’re going to try. OK, I’m done there. I think we’ve got something good, guys. I think it’s working.


Speaker 1: Woohoo!

Marco: You got it, man.

Speaker 1: Way to go.

Cliff Jenkins: Wow.

Speaker 1: That is a happy, happy ending.

Cliff Jenkins: Yeah.


Cliff Jenkins: Exactly. I know. I know. So he’s going to walk around in the winter time, check me out, right?


Cliff Jenkins: Yeah, that’s a private QR, I guess. Here’s a good example of QR. There is a research firm here in America who is doing a project for a Korean grocery store. What they were looking for is to obviously increase their revenue, and they had tapped into…they get a lot of research and feedback from the Korean people.


And what they were talking about is that Koreans are apparently terribly, terribly busy and they have no time to go grocery shopping. So what these guys did is they had a really brilliant idea. They’re always waiting for a train, they’re waiting for something because the mass transit is really huge over there.

So in these big cities, what they did is in the train stations, what they did is they covered the walls in what looks like a shopping market. So they literally put laminate all over the walls and it was just like you would be in a shopping market. And so you would go up and you would scan the code and what you would do is look at this product, see how much it was. I can’t imagine that you’d be able to sort of thumb the watermelon through your QR code or whatever.

But then you would assemble your shopping list and check out. And what happened is they would then deliver the groceries to your house when you got home.


That’s nuts. That is nuts. But apparently, their revenues grew 130% after doing this. Yeah. It’s nuts. It’s crazy. But it’s a really good use of QR, obviously, and obviously, you get something for your work in scanning the QR code.

Another good example, I found this funny, I was on the road one time driving and I stopped at Applebee’s and I was waiting on my meal and I looked and they had those tabletop displays. And I was like, hmm, that’s curious, QR code. That’s kind of cool. Let me check this out.

So these are the three sides of the tabletop. One was this crazy cat, which…is Sherman here? Sorry, Sherman. I cannot play the video of the cat. I just can’t bring myself to do it. This one is scan a code to watch our video. So this is another video that they had. It was more like…anybody seen the old opening of the Drew Carey show where they had the big show two number and all that stuff?


That was more like the office meets the Drew Carey Show opening number where they talked about your lunchtime going to your 14 minutes. So you got some time there. You’re waiting 14 minutes for your lunch, so why not scan that code. And also the dotted lines will instruct you to put your phone up to their mouth. So this was a pretty funny little idea here.

[Video playing]

Cliff Jenkins: Weird.

Speaker 2: It’s time to bounce. It’s stand up dude. We get an Applebee’s and we’re leaving real soon.

Speaker 3: Wait, isn’t Applebee’s like a sit-down place?

Speaker 2: Yeah, but 14 minutes is all it takes.

Speaker 4: Because you get your order then or you just don’t pay.

Speaker 5: So you can lunch at Applebee’s and have the rest of the day.

Speaker 3: To do whatever you want.

Speaker 4: Wash the car.

Speaker 5: Or the cat.

Speaker 2: So for great food fast, you know where it’s at. Fourteen minutes or it’s free, Applebee’s lunchtime guarantee.

26:02 Fourteen minutes or it’s free, Applebee’s lunch time guarantee. Fourteen minutes or it’s free, Applebee’s lunch time guarantee. Fourteen minutes or it’s free, Applebee’s lunch time guarantee.