A sketch diagram showing a user skimming through audio output of search result headings and descriptions
A diagram comparing how sighted users visually skim search result page, and how screen reader users skim-hear audio results

At UMD, I am advised by Dr. Amanda Lazar, who specializes in critical research towards how technologies can support health and well being for aging individuals. I am a member of Dr. Lazar's lab (The Health, Aging & Technology Lab), the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and the TRACE R&D center, all of which have conducted seminal work in computing, and accessible technologies. 

Prior to my doctoral studies, I worked with Dr. Robin Brewer at the University of Michigan's iSchool, an expert in accessibility research exploring the intersections of social computing and digital access. Before that at DePaul University, I worked with Dr. Sheena Erete & Dr. Denise Nacu, who conduct incredibly creative research at the intersections of design, technology, and social computing towards equitable learning and supporting related socio-technical infrastructures. 

 

Prior to this, I completed a Masters in Human Computer Interaction (research focus) at DePaul University, Chicago, and a Bachelors in Design at NIFT, India (changing my career path post 4 years of working as a designer). 

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Research interests
Equitable access to information through technologies

Figures: One of my first research studies exploring how sighted and blind users of technology (visual vs. non visual modalities of access) transact with web search interfaces (Published at CHI '20)

Widely implemented Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs, e.g. smartphones, voice assistants, PCs, search interfaces) have typically been developed, and evaluated, in terms of their value to "normative users" (i.e. young, abled, historical access to technologies). This vein of technology development limits access to information for non-normative user groups by design, endangering democracy and quality of life in a digital information age. Such user groups may include an aging population with different digital histories, people with disabilities using alternate sensory modes (e.g. blind users using assistive voice technologies), people with low or no history of technology use.  Research has already shown barriers arising in accessing information through these systems by diverse groups - information overload, polarization, credibility assessment concerns, irrelevant or erroneous retrieval, among others. Towards that effect, I am interested to derive theories and methodologies from the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Accessibility studies, Cognitive Science, Social science, and Design research towards platform agnostic and equitable access to information through ICTs

Work