Making the field of computing more inclusive

Jonathan Lazar, Elizabeth F. Churchill, Tovi Grossman, Gerrit Van Der Veer, Philippe Palanque, John Scooter Morris, Jennifer Mankoff

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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People with disabilities are a potential source of ideas and additional membership for professional computing organizations. Including people with disabilities in the decision-making processes of professional computing organizations ensures the most important barriers are addressed first. SIGCHI is one of ACM's largest special interest groups, with approximately 3,500 members as of 2016. SIGCHI has three goals, underscore the importance of stakeholder engagement; offer broad suggestions for how large SIGs can improve the inclusiveness of physical events and digital content; and underscore that addressing physical and digital accessibility is an ongoing process that takes time, with involvement of many stakeholders. These stakeholders must work together to drive the creation of acceptable and accepted guidelines and resources, find individuals with expertise to work in an advisory capacity, and find volunteers to implement effective strategies and provide feedback regarding the policies and guidelines in action. SIGCHI's hope is that SIGCHI will be a community that is perceived as welcoming for all researchers and practitioners with disabilities. Large SIGs, when they educate others about digital and physical accessibility, can have significant influence on the conference locations they rent and the universities and companies that employ their members. ACM has a leading role to play by ensuring all SIGs strive to be inclusive and by thus being a role model for other professional associations. The best way to handle such responsibility would ultimately be to ensure there are professional staff supporting and centralizing the most vital accessibility needs and accessibility is included in contractual relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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