QR Code Accessibility: The Modern Solution for Inclusivity

Update:  April 26, 2024
QR Code Accessibility: The Modern Solution for Inclusivity

QR code accessibility means welcoming everyone to the conversation, making information available to all, and considering different ways QR codes can go beyond sight and sound.

For people with disabilities, inaccessible technology slams the door shut on services that they should be able to enjoy as much as the next person.

In light of this, a digital shift is brewing to break down barriers, with some of the best QR code generator features to advance efforts in creating more inclusive spaces and customer experiences. 

Read on to learn how QR codes can be used to drive change, the brands that do it best, and what it is about these small squares that make such a big impact. 

What is QR accessibility, and why does it matter?

Accessibility in almost every sense of the word remains insufficient.

Half-hearted attempts at “accessible architecture” and sky-high expensive assistive technology are only the tip of the iceberg of barriers in the fight for accessibility. 

And at first glance, the tiny QR code may seem insignificant in the face of such an enormous task. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that the real strength of QR codes lies in their versatility. 

Well-designed QR codes can be applied in nearly any context and allow brands and individuals to open more inclusive experiences, level the playing field, and offer people with disabilities the same amount of opportunities.

5 empowering ways to use QR codes for accessibility 

Here are five ways QR codes can promote accessibility: 

Raising awareness

Shout your advocacy from the rooftops by creating URL QR codes that link to helpful resources about accessibility or campaigns driving awareness about different types of disabilities. 

You can convert URL to QR code by employing a reliable QR code generator, preferably one that complies with data privacy regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

These can be made into stickers to add to water bottles, notebooks, or laptops, sparking conversations and encouraging support within communities. 

Alternatively, these informative QR codes can also be included in social media posts about accessibility, taking people to relevant petitions or videos.

Transforming transport

From people with visual impairments to those unfamiliar with the area, incorporating QR codes for accessibility in public transportation can do wonders in ensuring it stays accessible for everyone.

To make complex bus routes and train schedules simple, for example, a QR code can lead people to downloadable versions or maps that can help them navigate the unknown.

The New York City subway – infamous for its rush hour and eccentric characters, is using the free NaviLens app and brightly colored QR codes that stand out to the visually impaired. 

When scanned, the codes lead commuters to the app, which reads signs out loud and offers travel information like real-time arrival and boarding areas in up to 34 different languages. 

Digital menus

Accessible QR code menu

For people with mobility limitations, digital menus and contactless payments in restaurants can be a huge help. 

Interactive restaurant software like MENU TIGER helps businesses create a more accessible experience for people with disabilities, especially those with mobility limitations and visual impairments. 

A QR code menu also translates online menus, makes order-taking quick, and offers customers various payment method options.  

Exhibits with a voice

When you go to museums and art galleries, information about the exhibits and art pieces is often presented visually on plaques or labels. 

This restricts the experience of individuals with visual impairments. And the “do not touch” rule, paired with very few tactile replicas, amplifies accessibility issues even more.

How to display a QR code museum label to enhance accessibility? It’s simple. Adding an audio QR code next to exhibits allows everyone to dive deep into a piece’s history, influences, and intended interpretations.

These codes can also translate text-heavy information into alternative formats. This gives people with learning disabilities the chance to access audio recordings or simplified descriptions with engaging visuals.

ASL stories for kids

Asl stories for kids

The magic of books was made accessible to the children of Indiana School for the Deaf when their teachers realized they could assist their students with QR code accessibility. 

They compiled 180 American Sign Language (ASL) stories found on YouTube, including One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss which they stored in video QR codes, and then printed on cards.

This gift was made complete with a comprehensive document containing instructions on how to scan the QR codes to access ASL content. 

An MP3 QR code can be used in similar ways, such as connecting blind people to audio descriptions of objects or places and extending convenience to more than a select few.


How to design inclusive QR codes using the best QR code generator

  1. Go to QR TIGER and log into your account. 
  1. Select a QR code solution and enter the necessary information. 
  1. Click Static QR or Dynamic QR, then choose Generate QR code. 

Pro-tip: To create free dynamic QR codes you can sign up for QR TIGER’s freemium plan. 

  1. You can customize your QR code with high-contrast colors, add a clear call to action, and upload a brand logo if you like. 
  1. Test-scan your QR code to make sure it works properly, then click Download to save it.

Best practices when making accessible QR codes (AQR)

High contrast

As a rule of thumb, your QR code designs should maintain highly contrasting colors. This means having a dark foreground (the patterns) and a light background (the area in between). 

Doing this improves both QR code readability and helps people with low vision identify them better. Another thing to keep in mind about low contrast is that printed codes exposed to sunlight or placed outdoors can wash out quickly. 

Clear intention

Create clear and concise calls to action (CTAs) to accompany QR codes to avoid confusion and prioritize QR code accessibility. For example, your CTA could say something like “Scan for Audio Guide” or “See 3D Model Here.”

Braille labels

Braille labels for QR codes

As QR codes are inherently visual, using braille labels takes your codes a step further to ensuring accessibility. When these labels are placed close to your QR codes, they act as a physical marker. 

For people who cannot see, they can feel the braille and locate the code. Remember, braille labels serve only as a guide to locating and identifying the code, not as direct translations of the code’s content. 

Large QR sizes

When considering your QR code size take note that larger QR codes can reduce the strain and frustration of scanning them for people with tremors or low vision. 

The key is to consider balance. While enlarging your QR codes is more user-friendly and accessible, make sure it doesn’t overwhelm other elements, such as a promotional poster or a wall near an exhibit. 

Real-life instances of QR codes fostering inclusivity

Here are a few real-life examples of how popular brands are making information accessible for people with disabilities: 

National Museum of Scotland

In a series of trial and error of different types of QR codes – the National Museum of Scotland is hard at work in making their exhibits as inclusive as they can be with the use of accessible QR codes.

One exhibit, in particular, highlights the stories of Scottish writer, historian, and politician Walter Scott. This small exhibition is found near the popular (and noisy) Grand Gallery. 

To add more value to the experience, five readings were recorded that visitors could access via QR codes placed on each case.

A pair of gilt brass rowel spurs, for instance, has a QR code leading to a reading of Scott’s poems “The Riever’s Wedding” and “Kinmont Willie.”

Kellogg’s powerful packaging

Accessible product packaging

In 2020, Kellogg’s launched an interactive packaging campaign for people with partial sight or blindness, which was incorporated into up to 60 stores across the UK.

Their accessible packaging uses QR codes to lead scanners to an audio description of the cereal, including nutritional and allergen information. 

The expanding role of QR code accessibility

QR codes, known for bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, are now also a powerful and inexpensive assistive technology that breaks barriers for people with disabilities. 

From providing real-time updates and sound navigation in public transportation to museum exhibits that speak to everyone.

If your brand is looking to create a more inclusive environment for your customers, QR TIGER, being one of the best QR code generator software online has advanced features to make your QR codes both accessible and dynamic. 

When brands use QR codes to make leaps to address issues often overlooked, it shows a commitment to fostering inclusion and thoughtful consideration of user-friendliness.


FAQs

How do you tag QR codes for accessibility? 

Directly below or next to your QR codes, provide a clear and concise description of what your QR code is intended for, such as “Scan Here for Audio Narration” or “Scan for Text Menu.”

How can I incorporate QR code accessibility in my business?

Depending on your business, you can identify specific areas in your customer service where QR codes can be used to address any barriers. 

For example, restaurants can digitize menus, retail brands can add audio QR codes on clothing labels, or gyms can add video QR codes with demos featuring sign language interpretations. 

What might be accessed by a QR code? 

This depends on the QR code solution. QR code generators now offer many types of QR codes that can store large amounts of different types of data. 

A QR code might lead to videos, landing pages, social media profiles, websites, digital business cards, and more.

Brands using QR codes

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