Outside the Book: Take Readers on a Journey with QR Codes
By now, you’ve probably seen your fair share of QR codes, even if you didn’t realize what you were seeing! Whether you’re reading a sign at the mall, a menu at a restaurant, or a postcard you received in the mail, these puzzling little squares with a pixelated pattern inside them can be seen just about anywhere these days.
The rising popularity of QR codes in recent years is a testament to how useful they can be—and not just for major brands and big businesses. QR codes can play a big role in taking your yearbook content to the next level.
WHAT ARE THEY?
QR codes, or “Quick Response” codes, are 2-D coded images that store data like the barcodes on items you purchase in stores, but they are much more useful! These images can be printed on anything, and with a quick scan of a smart phone, they can take your reader on a virtual journey.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
By downloading one of many QR code scanner apps, smart phone users simply hold their phone over the QR code to scan it. With the touch of a button, your printed materials are connected to the internet, sending readers to a YouTube video, website, survey or coupon. These are just a few examples of the many ways you can use a QR code—whatever it is you want to show your audience, a QR code can do it!
CAN QR CODES WORK IN YEARBOOKS?
QR codes are a great way to enrich your yearbook content. For example, imagine your yearbook contains a feature on the drama club’s production of Into the Woods, with photos of the cast and sets. By adding a QR code, readers who are flipping through the yearbook can also watch a video interview with the director, or a blooper reel from rehearsals. A QR code on the Prom page lets readers see video of the crowning of prom king and queen, or an MP3 of the evening’s theme song. Loved going to football games? Watch video of the winning touchdown during the Homecoming game.
Because the QR code takes the reader to the enriched content right then and there, it all becomes a part of their yearbook experience!
QR codes can also be used to update the book after it’s been printed. If your yearbook is sent to the printers before graduation, simply add a code to the seniors section or a graduation page. Once the event is complete, the QR code will show your reader videos and photos from the commencement ceremony, messages from graduating seniors, and much more!
HOW DO I MAKE A QR CODE?
QR codes are easy to create and there are lots of web resources to help you navigate the process! You can Google “QR Code Generator” to find a website that provides the service, or use one of these recommended sites:
- www.uqr.me : Create one customized QR code with a free account. With an inexpensive paid account, UQR.me allows you to track the city and country that your scans are coming from.
- www.unitaglive.com : Create customizable codes for everything from web links to business cards and geolocations.
- www.fancyqrcode.com : This site allows you to generate free QR codes, but a “Pro” or paid account is required to add color or other designs to the code.
- www.snap.vu : Receive email alerts every time your QR code is scanned, so you know it’s working!
- www.smartytags.com : This site gives you the option to change the content a code directs to without changing the printed code.
When you’re designing your QR code, feel free to add color, texture, and even logos and pictures to make the code eye catching and appealing to the reader. Because it is placed in your yearbook like any other image, get creative and design the code to match the page it will appear on!
If you’re creating your yearbook with Picaboo’s online software, there’s a QR code generator right there in the software for you to use! Simply click “Add Photos” then scroll down to “Make a QR Code” on the left sidebar. Type or paste the appropriate web address, click “Add” and the code is generated for you. All you have to do is “Add to Yearbook” and you are ready to go!
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Now that you know what QR codes are and how they work, begin brainstorming with your team about ways you can use them to enhance your yearbook material, as well as materials used to generate excitement from your fellow students about the yearbook, such as posters or in a school newspaper.
Need a head start? Check out this video from Leonard Elementary school, which is a great example of QR code content, or leave a comment below with some ideas on how you can use these handy codes when designing your yearbook!