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Designers beware! Adding graphics to your QR codes can cause them to fail.
Picture this: dozens of QR codes were locked and loaded and ready to go. We started scanning them as part of our testing, and 80% of them failed. These had already been placed on various materials queued to print.
After some hair pulling and some gnashing of teeth we got it all fixed with minimal impact beyond a few late nights for everyone. Let our pain be your lesson.
There are a myriad of QR readers on the market. They range from really good like Red Laser (which was acquired by eBay) to kind of crappy to really crappy. So if you use Red Laser to test, you’ll probably get great results. By the time you license a third-party scanner to do something else you will probably get much lesser results.
What do designers need to know about adding graphics to a QR code?
- There is about a 30% margin of error in QR codes that you can work with. That is you can modify up to 30% of the code and still have it work.
- The edges of the code have the alignment marks and can be temperamental and should not be changed in any way.
- See that little square in the upper right of the above code? The one below the large corner square? If that gets deleted by mistake you are going to be in pain.
- It is best to play with the exact center of the image rather than the edges of the image.
One final note, and this contains a lot of salty language so proceed at your own risk, this site is spot on: WTF QR Codes. We saw the people handing out the girlie cards in Vegas with QR codes on their shirts. Really? Did someone think that was going to work?
Test it, test it, test it…
These guys did a really amazing job of testing variations and displaying results. Take your time to check them out: QArt Codes
It’s always been important to me to wrap up the end of the day and get ready for the next. If I don’t my mind stays at work all night long.
Here are the things I do to tidy up, see if they can help you be more calm, focused and organized:
- Answer all emails — return the inbox to a zero state.
- Sometimes it’s just letting people know you’ve received their email and are looking at something. This is a crucial step—skip it and before you know if you have a client asking why they haven’t heard from you in a week.
- Review tasks for tomorrow, set them to auto schedule.
- Review any meetings or other out of office obligations (and think about how you might need to dress).
- Plan work — I don’t always do this, but when I need to stay focused I have a calendar just to block out work chunks.
- Ready any emails that go out in the morning — this is a new one for me too, but as we’ve grown I’ve had to be creative about where I find my management / check in time so it doesn’t eat away valuable design and development time.
Want to more about being organized? I offer a workshop that details my best and most used tips and tools.
This work includes the photo “organized,” available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, ripkas.
The other day we met someone who asked us, “how do you guys keep up to date on all the new technology?”
Well, we pick and choose. While we do read through all sorts of tech news — and we have a lot of techy friends so the conversations usually revolve around what is going on in that realm. It comes down to picking and choosing.
Luckily focusing on a few things at a time gives us a general knowledge of many things — and specific expertise on a handful of others.
Right now we are focusing on:
This work includes the photo “Sad Cartoon versus Technology,” (although he looks more inquisitive than sad to me) available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, © Sean Loyless.
I read an interesting article about how Woody Allen works the other day. This was my favorite part:
4. Productivity. To put out a movie every year or so, plus plays, magazine stories, books. you would think Woody Allen works around the clock. From a 1980 interview, “If you work only three to five hours a day you become very productive. It’s the steadiness of it that counts. Getting to the typewriter every day is what makes productivity.”
That is how we have structured our days. We don’t work 80 hour weeks, but we sprint every time we sit down to our work, great focus and great productivity ensue.
This work includes the photo “The Time,” available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, © bingham_becky.
So you have a bug or task you need to report to a ticket tracking system. How can you put it together in a way that the developer can actually address it and get the problem solved and the ticket closed?
First off, make sure you are reporting an actual problem. Sometimes there is a difference between what you think should happen and what someone else thinks should happen. You’ve probably seen the tire swing cartoon.
Usually a quick email or conversation can clear this up, don’t open bugs that say things like, “The color on the homepage is green.” Yes, it’s supposed to be green according to someone else. Why open a ticket to state a fact?
Secondly, a bug assumes you can reproduce and explain the problem and the steps taken to create the problem. If something happens once, it’s not a bug, it’s an anomaly. If you can explain the steps taken to get it to happen again, then you should do so. Describe all the steps from the beginning to where you encounter the bug and what the bug looks like. And then make sure you can reproduce it again.
Third, once you can reproduce the bug make sure and take a screen shot or two. A picture is worth a thousand words so help everyone out and show us what you are seeing.
Forth, report your environment. When you take your car in to a mechanic and you explain a problem—the mechanic has a great advantage over a developer—they are working in your actual environment (a 2010 Honda Civic for example). You need to tell your developer which environment you are using. Is it a computer or a tablet? Mac or PC? Firefox or Safari? OS 10.7.3 or 10.5? Here is a handy tool for getting all of that information together in one shot: http://systemandbrowser.com/
Once the bug is closed or reassigned to you to close take a minute to walk through the reproduction again and make sure it’s fixed in a way you think it should be fixed. If it isn’t, comment on it explaining what you are expecting and reassign it. If appropriate follow up with a thank you – either as a comment when you close the bug or when you see the developer.
- Report problems only.
- Make sure you can document how to reproduce the bug.
- Provide screenshots.
- Report your environment.
- Check it over and say thanks.
Go forth and squash some bugs!