A sketch diagram showing a user skimming through audio output of search result headings and descriptions

Search systems (both text and voice based) have typically been designed for, and evaluated in terms of, their utilitarian value to "normative users" (e.g. young, sighted, those using technology as part of work). Moreover, today's systems often fail to understand users' informational intent, pose problems of information overload, polarization and credibility assessment in the way they retrieve and present information. This is concerning for critical information searches (e.g. news, health) and pose dangers of digital exclusion.

Towards that effect, I am interested to study how people with diverse cognitive and sensory abilities use search systems to seek information. I hope to derive theories and methodologies from Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Accessibility studies, Cognitive Science, Social science, and Design research to inform the development of information search systems: retrieval, curation and presentation of information. 

PS: I love diagrammatic representation of information 

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 inclusive technologies for older adults with diverse cognitive abilities, combining concepts from Human Computer Interaction and health informatics. I am a member of Dr. Lazar's lab, HCIL and the TRACE center

Prior to my doctoral studies, I worked with Dr. Robin Brewer at the University of Michigan's iSchool, an expert in accessibility exploring the intersections of social computing and digitally constrained communities. Before that, I worked with Dr. Sheena Erete & Dr. Denise Nacu, who conduct incredibly creative research at the intersections of design, technology, and sociology towards equitable learning opportunities.

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. 

Work

Research interests