SCANDOT

June 8th, 2009

SCANDOT is a QRcode plugin for Firefox 3 and higher. It embeds a dynamic QRcode in every page you visit or print, allowing you to easily scan and revisit the page again on printouts or your mobile phone, without any writing, typing, saving or emailing.

Install SCANDOT

INSTALLATION

Click the logo above to download and install SCANDOT from the Mozilla.org site.

Alternately, click here to download and install SCANDOT manually. Download the file then drag and drop it onto a running Firefox window. It will ask you to confirm the installation and prompt you to restart firefox.

USE

How to customise your toolbar

How to customise your toolbar

Right-click the toolbar (or control-click it on OS X) and pick ‘customise toolbar’.


Near the bottom of the list of buttons is the SCANDOT button. Click and drag it to your main toolbar to quickly toggle QR Codes on and off.

How to add the SCANDOT button to your toolbar

How to add the SCANDOT button to your toolbar

The Toolbar Button

Click the button once and QR Codes are enabled. Click it again and they’re disabled.

Configuration Options

The configuration panel is under the Tools menu

The configuration panel is under the Tools menu

To configure SCANDOT, either context (right / control) – click the icon in the Add-ons menu item under the Tools menu and select “options”, or click the “options button”. Quicker access is available from the Tools menu, under SCANDOT.

In the configuration dialogue window, you can set which corner of the page the QR Code is displayed in, and the size of the code. Longer URLs work better and are recognisable by more devices when they are given more space, but generally we’ve found around 200 pixels gives good results for most pages.

Printing a QR Code as part of a document

Make sure the toolbar button is turned on, and just print as you would normally. The QR Code will be embedded on the printed page the same way as it is on your browser window.

REMOVAL

To remove the toolbar button, just open the context menu (right-click or control-click on OS X) over the main toolbar in Firefox, and drag the button from the toolbar back into the “customise toolbar” window.

Uninstallation

If you want to completely remove SCANDOT, go to Firefox’s Tools menu, and pick Add-ons. Make sure you’re on the “Extensions” tab, then click SCANDOT in the list. Finally, click “uninstall” to remove it – this will happen the next time you start Firefox after you close all open Firefox windows (and exit, on OS X).

What’s a QR Code?

SCANDOT home page as a QRCode

SCANDOT home page as a QRCode

A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode (or matrix code) which can embed a large volume of data into a small space. It can encode different kinds of data; SCANDOT encodes URLs, including HTTP, HTTPS, and FTP – basically, if you can type the address in and Firefox will show a page for it, SCANDOT will encode it.

QR Codes are in use more and more; you’ve probably seen one on a soft drinks can, or similar things printed on bills or stamps. Usually they help product tracking and automation, but QR Codes have become much more prominent for general consumption by those outside the logistics industry.

How do I read a QR Code?

SCANDOT does not read QR Codes. You will need another piece of software to do this; luckily, there are plenty out there, and they’re nearly all free. Google sponsor the zxing library under an open source license, which provides the backbone for many of the more recent ones.

Why would I use this?

You want to send a web page from your computer to your phone. Emailing it is a lot of work, and time-consuming, and possibly expensive. Instead you turn on SCANDOT, start the barcode scanner on your phone, point it at the screen, and instantly recieve the page, with no clicking required.

You print a map out. Months later, you realise the URL has been cropped, and would have been too long to type in anyway. Luckily, you had SCANDOT, which embedded the address as a glyph on the page. You use your computer and a webcam to recognise the code and restore the page.

About TANDOT

TANDOT is a strategic design company providing planning, design and production services for social and interactive media. We love mobile, geolocative and innovative new technologies and have a track record in creating and delivering ground-breaking solutions.

About QR Codes

Invented in 1994, the QR Code was designed to provide a machine-readable and robust mechanism to embed data about the manufacturing process into the car production process. Since the format has been released, a number of standardised data formats employing QR Codes have emerged, encoding such data as URLs, email addresses, and business cards.

QR Codes are the patented property of Denso-Wave. Denso-Wave has released the standard under a royalty-free license and promised not to assert patent rights.

License

The current beta version is ©TANDOT Ltd. and may not be redistributed without permission. Once we’re out of beta (early August 2009), it will be released under an open license.
We cannot be held responsible for any loss of data, livelihood, time, or functionality you may consider to be caused by SCANDOT. As much as possible, the software is safe and does not interfere with the normal operation of either your computer or Firefox iteself.

Version History

0.9.0 First beta release

Contact Dave regarding this article.

welovekaoru

June 4th, 2009

Full-service brand, presence and retail development for an award-winning ceramic designer

welovekaoru, an award-winning new ceramic designer, asked TANDOT to establish their company and provide a website which could both sell their products, and reflect their traditional craftsmanship.

Our analysis showed welovekaoru needed not just an online sales outlet, but the creation of a cross-media identity, emphasising their originality and exclusivity. TANDOT planned a cross-channel strategy which could communicate the essence of the company and its products through a number of customer experiences, both online and offline.

 

Developing the visual

  • On-product identity;
  • Packaging;
  • Collateral paperwork;
  • Brochures and postcards;
  • Electronic communications.

The design solution aimed to emphasise the timeless and tangible quality of artisan goods by using high-grade materials and leaving evidence of personal  touches; this is visible in the brand seals and logos – bespoke, sophisticated, yet bold and playful.

The back stamp (in blue, below) presented a set of unique physical design constraints; additionally, it needed to reflect hand-made skill and traditions, while invigorating them with a contemporary sensibility. The solution was to subvert the traditional ceramicists’ seal, adopting the aesthetics of the tattoo while maintaining a link with the heritage of the craft. The seal is reserved for welovekaoru’s physical products, a handcrafted stamp of authentic exclusivity, baked in by hand.

The logo uses a customised typeface to create a bold, clean and solid look, creating a sensation of familiarity with a hint of something different to it.

welovekaoru logo & backstamp

This modern simplicity combined with art nouveau-inspired ornamentation became the cornerstone of our style guide, which informed an identity covering packaging, posters, business cards, through to web pages, email signatures, and social networking identities.

Implementation of the essence of welovekaoru was extended to all the stationary and the packaging, creating a consistent experience. A style manual of guidelines and motifs leads to unity across the identity – on screen, paper, posters or bone china.

welovekaoru stationery

Online Architecture

The site was built based on customer profiling; we broke the audience into three overlapping groups,

  • casual visitors who would base purchase decisions on quality and exclusivity;
  • recommendation visitors expressing themselves by sharing links;
  • cultural visitors referred by high-production glossy magazines (or recommendations links.)

Subsequently emphasis was placed on providing tactile experience, using link-friendly Ajax/Hijax techniques to provide cross-fading, DVD-like navigation without compromising search engine or information visibility. Imagery is emphasised, with both the photographs and the whole site structure dynamically reflowing to accommodate the visitor and show the content as best as possible. Navigation is pared back to a minimum to avoid visitors becoming lost and potential ambiguity when discussing pages offline; to simplify the buying process, the otherwise unobtrusive shopping basket appears only when needed or requested by the visitor.

The background and page flows show a unique feature of the site, aligning the distinctive craft of the site architecture with the product line itself. Ajax-driven navigation avoids jarring page transitions, while algorithmically generated Flash artwork provides a subtle context-sensitive reinforcement of each products’ individual character. This is achieved without compromising an accessible, standards-compliant site, fully search engine ready without precluding those dependant on assistive technologies.

We developed unobtrusive share and subscribe features on top of providing RSS interfaces to the new section; RSS is there for technologists and software-based robots to consume, but the share (facebook, delicious, etc) and subscribe (Google, Yahoo, et al) features encourage the network impact of visitors; those who did not buy may have friends who would, and these systems encourage the message to be shared to people’s second and third tier personal networks.

The site is backed by a flexible administration interface, allowing welovekaoru to add news or adjust prices as needed, as well as manage the entire sales workflow.

welovekaoru website

Core Technologies

We built the site using a number of open technologies and platforms, as well as spinning out several open-source projects in their own right.

  • Flash, Flex and jQuery provide the rich front-end interface
  • AMF is used for concurrent live interaction
  • Valid XHTML and CSS underpin the rest of the site (providing consistent viewing on internet-enabled phones as well as desktop and laptop browsers)

Space and experience

We provided design support when welovekaoru appeared at the PULSE show (May 31 – June 2 2009, Earl’s Court). We created a brochure, special postcard, and goodie bag filled with old-fashioned sweets to reflect the brand and stand out amongst the competition.

welovekaoru exhibtion stand at PULSE

The branding was flexible and distinctive enough to stand apart at a busy trade event, and transferred well to a very different medium. We commissioned a new range of photographs with more emphasis on trade customers than the exploratory images used on the website.

Impact

The brand and online presence have been well-received, by both visitors and customers alike. “TANDOT created a distinctive and manageable online presence, and provided tactical expertise with a number of outlets new to us”, said Kaoru Parry of welovekaoru, “their strategic input has built a 21st century brand – even down to the use of twitter and networks.”

For further information, please contact TANDOT online at http://TANDOT.co.uk or mail Hwa or Dave using team@tandot.co.uk.