Reprisal of the QR Code

I'm working with my local bicycling club, the Illinois Valley Wheelmn, and Board and finding that I'm helping to bring a mobile smartphone perspective.  We have an excellent web site, newsletter, and advertising opportunities.  I recently suggested adding in a QR Code to which I received the response: What is that and why would we want it?  Below is the best brief answer I could give that was directly relevant.  I hope you find my reprisal of the QR Code equally useful.

Long URLs -> Short URLs
Many times, a URL (or URI) is too long to safely or easily include in an email, instant message, or text message.  If you're a mobile user like me, you don't like to type in long URLs on a tiny keyboard.  Even if you're not a mobile user, you've noticed that sometimes a forwarded email ends up breaking a long URL link.  To avoid these problems, you can use a URL shortener.  There are many URL shorteners out there.  Popular ones include, and, among others.  These sites make long URLs into short URLs that point to the same place.  

I would choose to shorten it.  I go to and paste that long URL into the top box and it returns a short one to me:

Test both of these URLs.  Notice that they go to the same place.  This will work every time.

Now, our (truly wonderful) IVW web site already has a great, short URL:  There is no need for a URL shortener.  However, offers an additional bonus feature of their URL shortener: a QR Code generator.

What is a QR Code?
You can read the full Wikipedia entry if you'd like, but essentially a QR Code is a 2-dimensional code able to be scanned by camera phones and barcode readers.  (See attached QR Code for the IVW web site.)  They've been around for quite some time.  If you start to look for them in the corners of magazine pages, advertisements, posters, fliers, etc. you'll notice them.  QR codes contain different kinds of information and can be used to start some kind of action, such as going to a particular web site.  

Scanning or Capturing a QR Code
Many mobile smartphones have free software you can download and use to "scan" or "capture" a QR Code.  Doing that then allows your phone to go directly to the desired web site.  It's terribly convenient for mobile users because it removes the barrier of typing in a URL which is prone to mistakes given the small form factor of mobile devices and less-than-ideal keyboards (if any).  If you have a smartphone and want to download a free QR Code scanner, I suggest going to your phone's marketplace or App store and searching for "QR Code scanner" and select the most downloaded or highest-rated free software available.  I use "ShopSavvy" on my Android phone because it also lets me do live price comparisons between stores and online retailers. + ".qr"
Overall, using and appending ".qr" to the resulting short URL is slick, easy, and can be done for anything from anywhere.  For smartphone users like myself, it's a timesaver and makes me 100% more likely to follow-through to a web site.  If the QR Code is digitally displayed on my phone, I just press on the QR code itself; if I see a QR code on a store poster, in a magazine, or in a newspaper, I use my phone's camera to scan it and it automatically directs me to the website on my phone.  

Illinois Valley Wheelm'n
The reason I created a short URL for IVW was so we could use the subsequently generated QR Code: in future advertisements, publications, and more.  We should always use the full IVW web site URL ( when directing others to the IVW web site.  Why?  Because it's a great web site with a great URL and renders very well on my mobile phone.  In general, the only QR Code you (or anyone in our group) really needs for inclusion into newsletters, fliers, mailers, advertisements, etc. are these two (they are the same):

  1. The QR Code: 
  2. Attached is the above QR code saved as a PNG file.
Please let me know if anyone else has any questions.  Have a happy Valentine's Day!