UniMaps is an app designed to enable accessibility-friendly navigation on the campus of Bielefeld University. It is being developed by the Disabled Persons’ Representative Council / Accessibility Services (ZAB) by and with students.
UniMaps is intended be usable for all students, lecturers, employees and guests, i.e. all users of the university without restrictions. Thus care was taken to ensure that the Android app could use TalkBack, that the font size could be adapted to the system and that various parameters could be set for route calculation (for example: avoid stairs).
Education should be accessible to all. Many universities were not built with accessibility in mind in the previous century. Building conversions take a long time, are expensive and the signage is often so poor that lifts or accessible lecture hall entrances can only be found after repeated searches. In future, UniMaps should make everyday life at our University easier for all students and employees.
On 23 May 2019, UniMaps was released as an Android version in the Google Play Store. UniMaps has also been available in the Apple AppStore since the end of 2021.
In the audio guide, which can be played here, the app is audibly described and presented for blind and visually impaired people. New version from April 2021.
UniMaps helps you navigate the campus and offers many other functions that are helpful in everyday university life.
Many universities were not built with accessibility in mind in the last century. The conversions take a long time, are expensive and the signage is often inadequate, which means that lifts or accessible lecture hall entrances cannot be found easily. In the future, UniMaps will make everyday life at our University easier for all students and employees.
From the home page, you can enter your starting point and destination, or use the QR code to pinpoint your location. You can then check which route options you would like to change before navigating to make it more accessible for you.
Within the navigation it is possible to select a text-based version in the display. Individual instructions such as "In five metres on the left" can be checked off, or if you have checked off too many, you can undo the last actions. You can save or report any obstacles you encounter. For example, if a toilet is being cleaned, you will be directed to the next one. You can delete saved obstructions at any time.
The app offers several other features, in addition to navigation. You can access the cafeteria meal plans for the current week as well as the current departure times of the tram services from the stops at Universität and Wellensiek.
You can also save aliases. For example, if you regularly have to hand in your maths papers in V3-128, you can simply enter "maths paper" in the navigation instead of the room number and you will automatically be directed to the respective room.
There are also help overlays that again summarise the actions available in the current display.
UniMaps is very small with a size of 7MB. No internet connection is necessary, as the app can be used entirely offline.
UniMaps offers accessible route planning, a search function for rooms and people, and mealplans for the various Studierendenwerk facilities, as well as a live tram timetable.
Have fun with UniMaps.
We want to keep improving and expanding UniMaps and welcome feedback in the form of bug reports, ideas for improvements, new features or criticism. These can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.