Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

qr codes

Tested: Java midlet QR code readers

QR Code readers are as easy as pie on smartphones such as the iPhone and Android-based phones. The ZXing barcode app for those platforms does a great job of decoding almost everything you can throw at it. The story isn’t quite as happy for owners of other types of mobiles who have to use J2ME/JavaME applications.

I’ve tested 7 different Java QR Code readers using a number of QR Codes (both on screen and printed) on my SonyEricsson C905. The C905 is a CyberShot telephone with an auto-focus 8MP Carl Zeiss lens. The camera is one of the best I’ve seen on a mobile. That said, scanning QR Codes with Java apps has, by and large, been an awful experience.

i-Nigma logo

i-Nigma – Best in test

Of the 7 free apps I tested i-Nigma was the only one that I can genuinely call useful. When I say useful, I mean it actually decoded every code I threw at it! It makes use of the auto focus, decodes quite quickly & keeps a history of what you’ve decoded. It didn’t made use of the phone’s flash, but it did manage to decode my low-light test code after a few attempts.

It also understood a number of different types of encoded data.

  • Contact details – offering to save the vCard to contacts.
  • Telephone numbers – offering to dial the number.
  • Email addresses – offering to send an email.
  • SMS – offering to send the SMS to the specifed number.

Everything it didn’t understand it displayed as text.

The application also offers a auto-power saving mode and the ability to recode the data back into a QR-code. You can also reasonably easily share the decode info on Facebook or Twitter. It is all in all a nice application to use.

Neoreader

It Auto-focused, and didn’t use the camera’s flash. It decoded as many codes as the test-winning i-Nigma, but what stopped Neoreader from being a joint-winner is that the application isn’t as nice to use, and it considered most things it decoded as a URLs and offered to open them – even if it was a vCard for example. It did though correctly deal with SMSes and telephone numbers.

BarcodeReader (ZXing)

This reader is the most common barcode scanner on Android phones and works really well on that platform. It auto-focuses and uses the built-in flash. There is a noticeable delay though from when you press the button to scan to when it focuses, and then to when it flashes, and then again to when it makes the shutter noise – and then finally, after what seems like a lifetime, it says if it found a code or not. A lot of time it said “no code found”. The way the user interface is designed makes you wonder whether it’s you that’s doing a bad job of taking the photo or the application doing a bad job of dealing with it.

I didn’t mange to decode any of my on-screen test codes, only the printed ones worked. This is probably due to the flash; but as there is no option to disable it, I couldn’t test that theory.

BeeTagg

Auto-focus, bit sluggish at times. Decoded most larger codes, but failed with smaller ones. It showed all types of codes as decoded text, scrolling across the screen – apart from URLs which it gave you the option of opening.

Kaywa Reader

First problem was a really long drop down list with phone models that was really awkward & slow to navigate, the second and ultimate problem was that I received an error when trying to download the software. Total failure.

Scanlife

No auto-focus. Never managed to get an in-focus scan, subsequently I never managed to get it do decode anything. Total failure.

UpCodeJava

Auto-focused but was incredibly slow at processing the picture. Most significantly it didn’t manage to decode any QR Codes at all. Total failure.

The Test Codes

I used 7 codes in my testing (although I have over a period of time tested all of the applications with more QR codes). 6 of them were generated using ZXing’s QR Code generator. 1 of them was my business card pined to the fridge in our kitchen. This code in this environment was used as my low-light test. I also printed out the MeCard contact details code.

Here are the codes, so you can test yourself:

Printed code in Low-light

Picture of a QR code in poor light

MeCard

MeCard QR Code

vEvent

MeCard

URL

MeCard QR Code

Geo-location

MeCard QR Code

SMS

MeCard QR Code

Phone number

MeCard QR Code

8 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 37-38, 2010)

Children’s Websites: Usability Issues in Designing for Kids

9 years on from their first survey, Nielsen have produced a new study into the usability of Children’s websites. “It’s now common for a 7-year-old kid to be a seasoned Internet user with several years’ experience.” – If we think that the millennials are the internet generation – in 10-15 years this wave of 7 year olds will be in the marketplace.

No One Is Looking At Google Instant

A small eye tracking study (14 searches by 7 users) but contains some interesting finding – one such finding was all of their test participants didn’t look at the screen whilst typing their search phrase!

New navigation for our intranet – please help!

More practical advice from The Intranet Professor. A lick of paint for an un-respected, un-loved, un-used intranet, or full renovation?

A Comprehensive Guide Inside Your <head>

Excellent guide to the <head> section of HTML. As technically the head is limitless, there are a number of additional things Alex could have included (but you have to draw the line somewhere!) Nevertheless, one link reference that really should have mentioned is rel=”canonical”.

HTML5: The Facts And The Myths

I Had the pleasure of listening to Opera’s Bruce Lawson evangelise HTML5 at Disruptive Code this week. This Smashing Mag article by him and Remy Sharp is a good primer for those of you who don’t know that much about it.

Internet Explorer Extinct by 2013? 2010 Update

In 2008 web dev & design site Sitepoint predicted that they wouldn’t be receiving any visits from people using an Internet Explorer browser – here’s their 2010 update. Interesting stats and interesting to see the continued trend of browser usage in the dev/design world.

Let’s create a neat graphic and pretend that it’s true

Read Jesper’s Churchil-eqsue post, then read Amber Naslund’s post 3 Reasons B2B Social Media Makes So Much Sense. Two boxers each waiting to pounce from their respective corners of the ring? Is one of them half-way up the garden path? Can you apply behaviour analysis and “CRM the living shit out of all the data” to B2B customers in the same way you can B2C consumers?

Japanese Mobile Users Can Sign In to Facebook Using QR Codes

Facebook are experimenting with using QR codes generated whilst you are logged in to the standard site in order to authenticate your log-in to the mobile site. All done in a couple of clicks rather than a load of fiddly typing. Sounds like a usability win to me.

6 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 34, 2010)

The business case for social intranets

To quote Oscar: “Most people will come to understand that a social intranet is not just about adding features such as blogs, wikis, activity feeds & micro-blogging on top of a traditional intranet; it’s about rethinking the purpose of intranets with the intention of bringing the paradigm shift in how we communicate & collaborate that is taking place on the web to the very core of how enterprises are operated & managed.”

Enterprise Microlearning

The significance of enterprise microblogging (or “microlearning”). Not only does it state the importance of status updates in the workplace, but also gives a number of practical examples of their use.

Does news add any value to an intranet?

Time after time when we look at intranet stats and surveys we see the evidence that employees just aren’t that interested in news articles – they want things (especially on the start page) that help them get their jobs done.

User behavior in SERPs. Eye tracking study July 2010

This translation of a Spanish eye tracking study shows how people’s intentions (they tasks they are trying to complete) affect their behaviour when viewing search engine result pages.

Santa Barbara Zoo launches smartphone technology

Using QR codes is a cost-effective and straight-forward way to improve visitor interaction at zoos and museums. Hunt down relevant content (perhaps it’s already on your site?) and print some new signs plus some guides for visitors explaining how to scan the codes.

Halfords: mobile site review

Lots of things here that Halfords could improve and tweak. Interesting to see the start of a trend for “collect in store” (rather than “buy via mobile”). It’s a mistake though to prevent mobile users from accessing the regular “desktop” site.

10 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 29-31, 2010)

BBC News website’s content management and publishing systems

The BBC Internet blog often produces some really good in-depth insights into how things work at the BBC. This time, in connection with the recent redesign of BBC News, they take a look at web management, web standards & their in-house CMS

Why QR Codes Are Poised to Hit the Mainstream

SL have just started testing Quick Response codes at a number of bus stops here in Stockholm. Co-incidentally Mashable writes “Why QR Codes Are Poised to Hit the Mainstream” around the same time. You shouldn’t produce any printed matter now without a QR Code in my opinion.

Half of site searches are unsuccessful: report

Half of site searches are unsuccessful. Yet studies have shown that site-searches result in a significantly higher conversion rate than the average. Clear opportunity for improvement there…

The Internet Generation Prefers the Real World

This article from Spiegel Online describes how the (German) Internet Generation would appear to prefers the Real World – or rather, that it is integrated into their lives but that they are not necessarily “internet experts”. What you can conclude is that there is no global norm when it comes to the internet generation and their internet usage. Read my earlier post about Internet usage and young Swedes in Sweden

18 Simple SEO Items Commonly Missed in Web Development

Not a bad list. Your next site won’t be worse if you follow all of these 18 points! There are, of course, more than 18 things that are normally missed.

Blog – Subdomain or Subfolder? Which Is Best?

More on the eternal question of on-domain, off-domain, or sub-folder blog – which is best? Well, they all can be in my opinion. Really does depend on each individual case.

Will the Real Browser Stats Please Stand Up?

Global visitor stats are always misleading. Make sure to always study the stats for your own site (and therefore visitor groups), especially browser version and viewport size before a redesign.

How long are intranet projects?

Steptwo write about how long an intranet project should be (it is often not given enough time) – As is often the case, similar things apply to Internet projects too.

Employees demand a clean intranet home page, no scrolling

Keep it above the fold! Employees demand a clean Intranet home page, no scrolling, fewer links.

Enterprise 2.0 Roll-up: Google Kills Wave, Collaboration Ain’t Easy

In this CMSWire article they’ve taken the example of how a global collaboration product (Google Wave) failed to be adopted and likened it to the difficulty of implementing collaborative tools within the Firewall. Fair few pearls of wisdom from some clued-up people.

2 of 3
123
Reload this page with responsive web design DISABLED