Maitraye Das


I am a PhD student in Technology and Social Behavior (joint PhD program in Computer Science and Communication Studies) at Northwestern University. I work in the CollabLab with my advisor Professor Darren Gergle. I also closely work with Professor Anne Marie Piper in the Inclusive Technology Lab. Prior to Northwestern, I received a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. My research interest falls broadly in the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Accessibility. Specifically, my doctoral research involves studying and designing for accessible collaborative content production, with a particular focus on collaboration between people with and without vision impairments. Through ethnographic field observations and interviews in the contexts of collaborative writing and collaborative making, I explore how accessibility is created and negotiated in ability-diverse teams. Building on the insights gathered from my fieldwork, I design, build, and evaluate new systems to better support accessibility in groupwork.

Apart from academic activities, I have always been passionate about music. Whenever I get time, be it during a journey or before going to bed, I listen to music and sing along. I also like traveling and roaming around new places. Now and then I try to get a break from my busy schedule and set out for a tour with friends and family.

My name is pronounced as MOY-tray-ee (Maitraye) DAHS (Das)
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Recent News


Journal Articles

    Maitraye Das, Darren Gergle, and Anne Marie Piper. 2019. "It doesn’t win you friends": Understanding Accessibility in Collaborative Writing for People with Vision Impairments. In Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 3, CSCW, Article 191 (November 2019), 26 pages. [ACM DL link]
    Best Paper Honorable Mention Award

    Nusrat Jahan Mazumder, Maitraye Das , Tanzima Hashem, Sharmin Afrose, and Khandaker Ashrafi Akbar. 2019. Towards Privacy-preserving Authenticated Disease Risk Queries. In the Journal of Information Processing, Vol. 27, (September 2019), pp. 624-642. [Journal link]

Peer-reviewed Conferences

    Maitraye Das, Katya Borgos-Rodriguez, and Anne Marie Piper. 2020. Weaving by Touch: A Case Analysis of Accessible Making. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '20), Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, April 2020. [ACM DL link]
    Best Paper Honorable Mention Award

    Maitraye Das, Brent Hecht, and Darren Gergle. 2019. The Gendered Geography of Contributions to OpenStreetMap: Complexities in Self-Focus Bias. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '19), Glasgow, Scotland, May 2019, paper 563, 14 pages. [ACM DL link]

    Maitraye Das, Nusrat Jahan Mazumder, Sharmin Afrose, Khandaker Ashrafi Akbar, and Tanzima Hashem. 2018. A Novel Secret Sharing Approach for Privacy-Preserving Authenticated Disease Risk Queries in Genomic Databases. In Proceedings of the 42nd IEEE International Conference on Computers, Software, and Applications (COMPSAC ’18),, Tokyo, Japan, July 2018, pp. 645-654. [IEEE Xplore link]
    Best Paper Award

    Moushumi Sharmin, Monsur Hossain, Abir Saha, Maitraye Das , Margot Maxwell, and Shameem Ahmed. 2018. From ​Research ​to Practice: ​Informing ​the ​Design ​of Autism ​Support ​Smart ​Technology. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18), Montreal, Canada, April 2018, paper 102, 16 pages. [ACM DL link]

    Abir Saha and Maitraye Das. 2017. Impact of Social Networking on Post-Partum Depression in Women: An Analysis in the context of Bangladesh. In Proceedings of the 20th IEEE International Conference on Computer and Information Technology (ICCIT ’17),, Dhaka, Bangladesh, December, 2017, pp 1-6. [IEEE Xplore link]

Workshops and Posters

    Maitraye Das. 2020. Designing for Collaborative Content Creation for People with Vision Impairments. In the 2020 Conference Companion Publication on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW ’20). [Doctoral consortium]

    Maitraye Das, Katya Borgos-Rodriguez, and Anne Marie Piper. 2020. Rethinking Power and Politics in Accessible Making. In the 2020 ACM CHI Workshop on Investigating the Role of Critical Disability Studies in HCI. [Workshop position paper]

    Maitraye Das. 2019. Who Can See What: Privacy and Audience Management for People with Vision Impairments on Social Media. In the 2019 ACM CSCW Workshop on Addressing the Accessibility of Social Media , Austin, Texas, USA, November 2019. [Workshop position paper]

    Maitraye Das. 2018. Understanding Collaborative Writing Practices of People with Visual Impairments. In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM International Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp ’18), pp. 1744-1749. [Workshop short paper & poster] [ACM DL link]

    Maitraye Das. 2018. Towards Understanding the Effects of Social Networking on Postpartum Depression in Women: An Analysis in the Context of Bangladesh. In Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Houston, Texas, USA, September 2018. [Poster] [pdf]

    Maitraye Das, Sharmin Afrose, and Tanzima Hashem. 2015. Protecting Genomic Privacy in Medical Tests using Distributed Storage. In Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Houston, Texas, USA, October 2015. [Poster] [pdf]

    Maitraye Das, Sunandita Sarker, and Shahina Ferdous. 2014. SpeechAid: A Self-treatment System for Individuals with Speech Disorder via Mobile Application. In Grace Hopper Celebration India, India, November, 2014. [Poster] [pdf]
    Best Technical Poster


Designing for Accessible Collaborative Writing

Mentors: Darren Gergle, Anne Marie Piper

Collaborative writing tools (e.g., Microsoft Word, Google Docs) have become ubiquitous in today’s world and are used widely in many professional organizations and academic settings. Yet, we know little about how ability-diverse teams, such as those involving people with and without vision impairments, make use of collaborative writing tools. In this project, we investigate how people with vision impairments interact with collaborative writing tools to produce shared documents with their sighted collaborators, the challenges they face in developing collaboration awareness (i.e., understanding who commented or edited what and where in the document), and how they develop shared norms and workarounds to adapt to the complexities of collaborative features. Our work also uncovers how accessibility in collaborative work is shaped by interpersonal relations, power dynamics, and organizational ableism. Building on the insights gathered from contextual interviews with blind writers, we design non-visual representations of collaboration information to better support accessibility in collaborative writing.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews, qualitative analyses (grounded theory and thematic analysis), prototyping, experimental study design, mixed-method analyses
Tools: Python, PyQt, Amazon Polly

Publications: CSCW 2020, CSCW 2019, UbiComp 2018

A person is typing on a laptop in a office.

Designing for Accessible Collaborative Making

Mentor: Anne Marie Piper

In recent times, maker culture has garnered much interest due to its potential in democratizing technological practices and recognizing people with disabilities as co-designers— not just as passive users and recipients of support. Still, we know little about collaborative making in ability-diverse communities and how technology can intervene in meaningful ways to improve inclusion in making spaces. To help address these questions, we investigate the situated practice of collaborative making at a community weaving studio where blind weavers and their sighted instructors collaboratively produce handwoven products using physical materials such as loom, shuttle, and yarns. Through ethnographic field observations and contextual interviews, we uncover how blind weavers engage in coordinated embodied interaction with their sighted instructors and the materials in their workspace to learn and perform weaving steps. Building on these insights, we explore whether non-visual interactive technologies can enhance blind weavers' embodied understanding of the weaving process and the state of the woven products.

Methods: Ethnographic field observations, semi-structured interviews, qualitative analyses (grounded theory and thematic analysis), prototyping

Publications: CHI 2020, CSCW 2020

A blind weaver is working with a sighted instructor on a loom to create a blue and black colored cloth

Past Projects

Gender-based Self-focus Bias in OpenStreetMap

Mentors: Darren Gergle, Brent Hecht

Peer-production communities like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap have become important sources of high quality content that serve billions of human information needs and provide essential world knowledge to artificial intelligence systems. However, these peer-production communities are alleged to have participation disparities, with men significantly outnumbering women. Focusing on OpenStreetMap, this project investigates the relationship between gender participation disparities and content disparities. We are particularly interested in assessing whether men and women contribute diferently, and — to the extent that we see evidence of this — examining whether self-focus bias plays a role in governing the relationship between the two.

Methods: Quantitative analysis
Tools: Osmium, Python, R

Publication: CHI 2019

OpenStreetMap Logo

Smart Technologies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mentors: Moushumi Sharmin, Shameem Ahmed

In this project, we conducted a systematic literature review on smart technologies (wearables, smartphones, VR devices etc.) for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Informed by our qualitative analysis on 149 peer-reviewed articless collected from ACM Digital Library, IEEE Xplore and PubMed, we proposed a set of implications to guide the design of autism support smart technologies.

Methods: Literature review, qualitative coding

Publication: CHI 2018

Photo showing two kids excited in front of a laptop

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Privacy preserving and Authentication in Genomic Databases

Mentor: Tanzima Hashem

In this project, we proposed a novel secret sharing approach to compute the probability of a patient to develop a specific disease without revealing sensitive data (patient's genome, name of the disease, disease marker of medical center, and the result of the query i.e. chances of the disease) to dishonest adversaries and ensuring authentication of the genomic data. We proved the practicality of our system via extensive experiments using real human genome datasets.

Methods: Algorithm design
Tools: Java, MySQL

Publications: JIP (2019), COMPSAC 2018 , GHC 2015

Figure showing an example of Single Neucleotide Polymorphism


Northwestern University
Frances Searle Building, #2-431
2240 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208, USA

maitraye [at] u [dot] northwestern [dot] edu