UIT Calendar now accessible to people with limitations

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Where shall we go out on Friday night? The choices are endless if you consult the UIT OUT calendar for Flanders, the database managed by Cultuurnet Vlaanderen Cultural Network Flanders, the support centre for cultural communication. Cultural centres, cities and municipalities and other organisations can all add their activities on offer and join the more than 10,000 cultural operators that have uploaded their activities which amount to a total of between 20,000 and 30,000 online announcements. Cultuurnet offers this wealth of information on its own website, but has also made it available to others, which means that users have access to the data on a newspaper website or the site of his own municipality. Even though it looks different on each individual site, the information is the same. In an attempt to improve its service and access to its calendar, the centre came up with a version suitable for people suffering a range of limitations. IT partner Karel Lievens spent one and a half years to devise a web tool which links all existing 'going out' info to existing info on accessibility. To make this possible, Cultuurnet last year approached the organisation Hart voor Handicap Heart for the handicaped for support. “We initially thought we could simply continue with the access info provided by the organisations themselves,” says Julie Meirlesonne of Cultuurnet. “We consequently linked our info to the website of Toegankelijk Vlaanderen Accessible Flanders, which scrupuously screens cultural buildings to determine accessibility requirements such as sloping levels, steepness, door widths etc.” This scaled down our selection even more, with searches resulting in between 2,000 and 3,000 extremely reliable hits of venues throughout Flanders. These searches can be refined to respond to specific requirements such as wheelchair accessibility, auditory handicaps or assistance need. Cultuurnet Vlaanderen uses a widget to make information available to other organisations. A widget is a type of search box which automatically selects the UIT calendar, but is adapted to fit the house style of the particular organisation.

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