99q.eu – QR codes made easy

This post explains the usage of my website 99q.eu, a site to build very minimalistic websites such as this one and use them for various scenarios.

Underlying idea

The main idea behind this site was: I needed a quick way to create a QR code which contains some basic information, e.g. my contact data or a link to a manual etc. Yes, there are tons of “Create a QR code” sites on the web, but these typically require that you have a website elsewhere already which you can then link in the code.

The approach behind 99q.eu is different: Build the site yourself (within seconds), download the QR code and use it right away. It’s quick, easy, totally free and does not contains advertisements or similar. Just try it!

Creating a site

There are two ways of creating a site when you visit 99q.eu:

  • State your email address: You will receive a unique link which allows you to go into “edit” mode of your website. Whenever you want to edit your site later, just visit it, scroll down to the “manage” section, enter your email address again and receive a new link to edit it.
    Use this option if you want to create a site for yourself.
  • Choose the “create a site with a one time password” option (underneath the button): Then you can create a site and will receive a one time password (“OTP”) which you need in order to edit the site for the first time. In the first edit you still need to state an email address, so the next edits work as in the first option.
    Use this option if you want to create a site for someone else (to whom you then give the link and the one time password), e.g. if you want to give away (or sell) pre-fabricated QR code stickers or similar.

Updating the site

Once you are in “edit/update” mode of the site (either with the link received via email, or with the one time password), state simple data such as a title and a detail text. Optionally add contact data (which will be downloadable as a vcf-file to add to an address book) or a date/time/location (which will be downloadable as a vcalendar-file to add to a calendar).

Additionally, you can add an internal reference which is not displayed on your website, just in edit/update mode to yourself – so you know why (or for what) you created this site. For example, here you could state that this site points to the instruction manual for an electronic device which you own, and on to which you stuck the QR code which points to this site.

Usage scenarios

The straightforward case for such website is an address sticker, such as this one. Put it on a device/thing/whatever; your website should then contain e.g. your name and email address.

There are other cases, such as promoting an event, creating a flyer or similar. You could also e.g. stick a QR code next to a painting which points to a site with more information, or next to some goods you sell in a shop etc. You could stage a treasure hunt with this, placing QR codes somewhere which your “hunters” have find out by solving riddles that are referenced on the site pointed to by the previous QR code – e.g. involving Youtube videos or similar.

In a public space (museum, restaurant, …), there could be a QR code next to a painting/sculpture/… which points to a “making of”-video or just to additional information.

Maybe you want to ask for feedback? Use the “Allow messages from visitors” option to have people send feedback to you without disclosing your email address, e.g. by putting the QR code on a key: when it is lost, the finder can contact you without learning your name…

You might even think about adding such a QR code not as printout, but sewn into a piece of clothing, or as a water-proof sticker outside etc.

Printing the QR code

When you create your site on 99q.eu, it will display the QR code pointing to it, and also generate a PDF file with QR codes in different sizes. Print these and attach them anywhere.

More sophisticated, you could use a small printer: I use the Qutie printer which is quite cheap.

Once you installed the provided Sorticker App on your phone, choose the paper type, choose “Barcode” in the editor, “Scan” and just scan the QR code from your website. One sticker is actually large enough to hold two QR codes.

Then print it and stick it anywhere. The stickers are quite small, but still large enough to be detected by a smartphone camera.

Referencing to files

99q.eu does not allow to upload a file directly, but you can add a link to the text field which will automatically be converted into a clickable link on the displayed website.

If you want to upload a file yourself (an image, PDF, instruction manual, video, …), the easiest way to do so is: Share it on your preferred Cloud provider.

  • In Google Drive, you have to upload your file and then share it to anyone who knows the unique link, such as this one.
  • In Microsoft OneDrive, click on the Cloud-icon on your computer, “Show online” and then upload a file there.
  • There are different file hosters available, such as Rapidgator, DepositFiles, File-Upload, FileHorst and many more. Just upload your file there and paste the link to it in your site 99q.eu.

If your link to this file is too long, you can use a link shortener such as Bit.ly.

Staying anonymous

You may not want to tell your contact data to the world, but still you need a QR code sticker (e.g. on your car) so people can contact you? 99q.eu has a solution for that as well:

In the site configuration select the checkbox “Allow messages from visitors”

Do not enter any other contact data.

This will give visitors to your site an entry field where they can enter a message:

This message will reach you via email on the email address that you used for logging in to your site.

Pro tip:

I use this on my car: There is a little sticker on my car with a QR code and a text “Please contact me if something is wrong”, so people hopefully contact me before calling a tow truck or similar. I use a Gmail address and created a filter in Gmail which forwards such messages (“from:(99q@99q.eu)” and “contains the unique page link”) to a different email address which is connected to my Pushover account. With the Pushover App on my phone, I receive a popup notification immediately each time someone fills in the form on the website at 99q.eu – without having to publish my phone number or email address on the sticker.

Other options

If you need more sophisticated options, check my sites 9blox.com or 5clicks.net, which allow the easy creation of powerful websites. You may also check my chat system c99.chat.

Technical blurb

The site is written in PHP and uses a MySQL database. The underlying framework is Bootstrap; I added my handmade code and also made use of certain open source libraries; see the “Credits” section on the site.

99q.eu should render flawlessly on all sorts of devices with a pretty recent browser. Javascript has to be enabled. I tested it on PCs, Android tables and Android phones – if you find errors, please contact me.

By the way, if you need a useful QR scanner App, try “QR Scanner (PFA)“. This App was developed by a university team and doesn’t show commercials, uses only necessary permissions and is free. Unfortunately it’s available for Android only.

This article was written by Frank

Corporate Banking expert at coconet.de and occasional hobby website creator...

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