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Communications of the ACM

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Ability-Based Design


Ability-Based Design, illustrative photo

Credit: FXQuadro

Recall the last time you took a trip out of town. Perhaps you were traveling to a conference far from home. Remember the many forms of transportation you endured: cars, buses, airplanes, and trains. Not only were you responsible for moving yourself over a great distance, you had to move your things as well, including books and baggage. Remember the cramped spaces, sharp elbows, body aches, and exhaustion. Feel again your desire to simply be at your destination with your possessions intact . . .

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Such journeys remind us of our physical embodiment in the physical world, that much of our lived experience is fundamentally physical, and that we must contend with the world on physical terms. As computing professionals, we might be tempted to forget this, as our keystrokes summon data instantly from across the globe. But as humans, we still interact with that data through physical devices and displays using our physical senses and bodies. We and the world interact physically.


 

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