DUB Seminar will be conducted using Zoom, via an invitation distributed to the DUB mailing list. Participants who are logged into Zoom using a UW account will be directly admitted, and participants who are not logged in to a UW account will be admitted using a Zoom waiting room.
Widely used technologies that support remote collaboration and content production (e.g., Microsoft Office, Google Docs, Zoom) contribute to ongoing issues of inequity for disabled people. These tools do not always allow for the same level of usability and efficiency for disabled people as their non-disabled peers experience. As workplaces and educational institutes are continuing to adopt more technology-driven, hybrid models, existing equity gaps are likely to increase without a holistic understanding of accessibility in content production and new tools to support accessible collaboration. My research addresses this challenge by understanding, designing, and building accessible collaborative content production systems for ability-diverse teams, i.e., teams involving people with and without disabilities. In this talk, I will overview two main directions I am pursuing to enhance collaboration among blind and sighted people: collaborative writing and collaborative making.
First, drawing upon my interviews and observations with blind academics and professionals, I will explain the technological, social, and organizational factors that shape accessible collaboration. Then I will demonstrate a variety of auditory techniques and systems I developed to represent complex collaboration information in a shared document (e.g., comments, tracked changes, and real-time edits) and how these new techniques support blind writers in maintaining collaboration awareness and coordinating joint activities in asynchronous and synchronous settings.
Next, I will focus on my long-term ethnographic research within a community weaving studio where blind fiber artists work together with sighted instructors to produce hand-woven fabrics. I will share two examples of how I integrated technological augmentations in this traditional form of making to support creative work of blind weavers. These include designing an audio-enhanced physical loom and an accessible tool for generating fabric patterns. I will conclude by discussing my future research plans on enhancing accessibility in collaboration, creativity, and learning.
This seminar is co-organized with UW CREATE.
Maitraye Das is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Washington Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE). She completed her PhD and MS in Technology and Social Behavior (dual degree in Computer Science and Communication) from Northwestern University. Her research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) focuses on making collaborative content production in ability-diverse teams more accessible and equitable. Her work has been recognized with several Best Paper Awards, Honorable Mentions, and a Diversity and Inclusion Award at top conferences including ACM CHI, CSCW, and ASSETS as well as the Daniel H. and Carolyn E. Ecroyd Fellowship, a CS PhD Student Research Award, and two research grants from Northwestern. She was selected as a Rising Star in EECS by MIT in 2021. Maitraye is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University where she will start her work in Fall 2023.