QR code advice for people who are blind or have low vision

24 August 2021

QR codes have become part of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic, with their use becoming mandatory to enter many businesses, public places and other locations. 

QR codes are also required when riding in taxis and rideshare vehicles. 

While QR codes are a convenient way for businesses and others to obtain information, they can be challenging for people who are blind or have low vision.

This also applies to manual back-up check in processes, which often rely on people using pen and paper to sign in.

There are some options to make navigating QR codes easier for people who are blind or have low vision.

VIP Code Reader app

The VIP Code Reader app is designed for people who are blind or have low vision and can be used in place of your smart device’s camera or other QR reading apps.

The app makes a sound as you move your smart device get closer to the QR code location.

A low sonar pulse indicates the phone is positioned vertically (useful when locating QR codes on walls) and a high-pitched fast tone when the camera is pointing at the ground (useful for locating QR codes on tables and other surfaces).

When your phone has located the QR code a confirmation tone will be made and you can complete the check-in process.  

VIP Code Reader:

Self-advocacy advice

If you are having trouble locating or using a QR code, staff are required to assist you. Here are some self-advocacy tips to support you if need to seek assistance.  

  • Asking staff to assist you checking in (be that by them scanning your phone against the code or them checking you in on their device)
  • Using a code on a flat surface instead of a vertical surface to check-in
  • If confident, asking a passer-bye to assist you with a check in
  • Phoning a venue in advance to determine where on the premises the most user friendly QR code would be for you.

State and territory QR check-in information

QR check-in protocols and processes vary across states and territories.

Familiarising yourself with your state or territory’s requirements and systems can help you be more comfortable when entering a location that requires a check-in.