How to use QR codes and how not to

This is a concrete example of practical use of QR codes.

Hubsan H216A quadrocopter/drone is an interesting example due to the amount of QR codes used for the same product (5 in total), as well as the fact that it’s used for information, which Cliqtags is designed for, and not payments or identification.

On the packaging

“More product information” points to http://www.hubsan.com, so not to a specific page for this product. Search can though be performed from there.

“Scan QR for verification…” goes to https://www.hubsan.com/support/index/index/checkno (sic!) where I could enter the shown code manually to verify this is an original unit. They should have put the code in the QR code as a URL argument, a la “?c=9074…”, unless that somehow would have decreased security (I doubt it would).

The bottom right one contains the product name and serial number “H216A-F SN:AAH070D05120005” which is also expressed in the tiny text below it. It would have benefited from an easier to read QR code (blotchy and damaged) and larger text.

On the user manual

The URL in the “User Manual” QR code contains http://www.hubsan/qrcode/216A_en.html that points to a non-existing page, and I couldn’t even get back to the home page of hubsan.com from there. There’s not even a “Couldn’t find the content you were looking for” page.

On the product

This QR code contains the same product name and serial number as described above. Also this one was hard to read.

Advice

Regarding QR codes:

  • Use QR codes to your advantage. Point to detailed information that’s not included etc.
  • If you point to Web pages, keep those pages indefinitely. Alternatively use search criteria, to increase tolerance to site changes.
  • Print at a high quality or large. Verify ease-of-reading if in doubt.
  • Describe the content behind the QR code in a brief but clear way.

For more, see How do I use QR codes.

Regarding URLs:

  • All sites should use “https:” by now.
  • Preferably redirect “www.domain” to “domain” instead of the opposite. No one enters “www.” anymore.