|It’s fast and easy to generate a QR-code business card with your contact information. You can also include maps, mobile web, video from a QR-code on your business card.|
Advantages: A QR-code with contact info is very quick and easy to implement. It doesn’t require an internet connection. It will instantly transfer the QR-code contact data to a smartphone’s contact list.
Disadvantages: A vCard or meCard QR-code contains static information. If you change your contact info you’ll need to generate a new and different QR-code.
Advantages: By changing web content, you can dynamically change what is displayed when a QR-code is scanned, even though the actual QR-code image never changes.
Disadvantages: A dynamic QR-code requires the scanning smart phone to have either a WiFi or cellular Internet connection. A dynamic QR-code requires more technical skill to implement since it depends on serving web content to the smartphone via a URL encoded in the QR-code.
The short solution is this: as I write this in 2012, half the smartphones in use are iPhones, so this problem can’t be ignored. If you have space on your business card, include two QR-codes. One that contains static Contact information and a second QR-code that will display your mobile website.
All QR-code reader apps for all smartphones (including the iPhone) can successfully parse and save contact information when the contact information is encoded directly and completely within the QR-code. This is precisely the method described in the section “Simple Business Card QR-code with Contact Info.” However, if the QR-code does not contain the actual contact info, but instead the QR-code uses a target URL from which contact information is downloaded, then Androids and Blackberry phones will correctly handle the downloaded contact info, but the iPhone absolutely fails, displaying this message: “Safari cannot download this file.” This is because when a QR-code directs an iPhone to download contact information, the iPhone’s Safari browser (alone) is incapable of understanding the downloaded .VCF contact file.
In spite of the iPhone’s massive Browser vCard fail, the iPhone can correctly handle vCard contact information when it received in an iPhone e-mail message or contained in the iPhone’s Map application.
iPhone eMail: It’s possible to set up an e-mail auto-responder that will automatically email the vCard contact information to the iPhone or iPad. The device will then prompt the recipient to confirm adding the data to the contact list. The disadvantages to this method are that e-mails aren’t fast and reliable and a recipient may not want to provide an e-mail address to receive the contact information by return e-mail.
vCard Getter is an iPhone app that can download and automatically parse vCard data from a website (since Safari can not). However, it is unrealistic to expect that the recipient of your business card will take the time to install this specialized app when it’s only function is to occasionally read vCard data captured from a website.
iPhone Maps & Google Places: Unfortunately, this method no longer works. It was previously possible for an iPhone to automatically process contact information stored in an online Google Maps entry. As of January 2012, Google has been transitioning Google Places, which displays map results in the Safari browser instead of the iPhone map application. Presumably, Google is providing enhancements to the mapping experience such as reviews and photos that aren’t possible when the results are displayed in the iPhone map application. Here’s how the iPhone Map App workaround formerly worked:
General QR-code rules apply: The primary purpose of a QR-code is to easily and immediately transfer data contained in the QR-code image to a mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet. The QR-code must be at least .75″ tall to be read by all smartphone cameras. The QR-code must have sufficient color contrast between the square pixels and the background. The clear border around the QR-code must be at least the width of 4 of the small pixels in the QR-code. The less data in the QR-code, the more readable it is.