Business Cards | Machine Readability and Functional Business Cards

More and more people today transfer the information from your card into digital systems designed to make it easier to contact you. While many people still enter the information by hand, more and more of this type of data entry is being done using automated tools. Dedicated business card scanners or more general scanning systems are often used with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. Most smart phones today have the ability to scan a business card and populate the phone owner’s address book with your information. When you design your card try to keep your name and contact information clearly legible to improve machine readability. Complex designs with graphical elements intertwined or co-mingled with your contact information will reduce machine readability and OCR accuracy requiring your clients to manually correct your information when scanned into their digital system. Worse yet, is if they don’t catch the incorrect data and can’t easily contact you.

One great way to make it easy for your clients to get your information into their digital systems is by encoding it into a two dimensional (2D) barcode. This way there is no requirement for OCR with the attendant questions of accuracy since the information is already encoded into a digitally readable format with error correction built in. In order to preserve the design integrity of your card, try adding the 2D barcode on the back.

There is a trend towards adding 2D barcodes to the back of cards with ruled lines to encourage taking a few notes right on the card. These two simple additions can turn your card into an interactive tool that will make it as easy as possible for your clients to get you into their digital databases and remember pertinent information from your introductory meeting. If you need more room on your cards to add these elements, move to a fold over business card. Your clients who are already using 2D barcodes will appreciate the thoughtfulness. Those who are not will appreciate your introducing them to this new time saving technology. Everyone will appreciate a handy place to make a few notes.