Maitraye Das


I am a PhD candidate in Technology and Social Behavior (dual PhD program in Computer Science and Communication) at Northwestern University. I work with Professor Darren Gergle in the CollabLab and Professor Anne Marie Piper in the Inclusive Technology Lab. My research interest falls broadly in the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), 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 as well as drawing on critical disability studies literature, my work uncovers how accessibility is created, negotiated, and sustained in ability-diverse teams. Building on the insights gathered from my fieldwork, I also design, develop, and evaluate non-visual interactions to better support accessibility in collaborative work. My research has been recognized with Best Paper Honorable Mentions at ACM CHI and CSCW and a Best Paper award at IEEE COMPSAC.

Before joining the PhD program at Northwestern University, I received a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and worked as a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at United International University, Bangladesh. As a first-generation scholar and woman of color from the Global South, I seek to promote academic and professional development of aspiring young women, specifically those from underrepresented communities. In our Bangla podcast series, Inspiring Stories, we invite Bangladeshi women professionals to share their work and personal career journeys. Feel free to reach out to me with questions about grad school and HCI research.

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) Daa-sh (Das). Click the audio player below to listen to the pronunciation of my name.

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Recent News


Journal Articles

    Maitraye Das, John Tang, Kathryn E. Ringland, and Anne Marie Piper. 2021. Towards Accessible Remote Work: Understanding Work-from-Home Practices of Neurodivergent Professionals. In Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 5, CSCW1, Article 183, (April 2021), 30 pages.

    Katya Borgos-Rodriguez, Maitraye Das, and Anne Marie Piper. 2021. Melodie: A Design Inquiry into Accessible Crafting through Audio-Enhanced Weaving. In ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS), Vol. 14, 1, Article 5 (March 2021), 30 pages. [ACM DL link]

    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]

Select Peer-reviewed Conference Papers

    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]

Workshop Short Papers, Posters, and Doctoral Consortia

    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] [ACM DL link]

    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]

    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]

    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] Best Technical Poster


Designing for Accessible Collaborative Writing

Collaborators: 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, observations, qualitative analyses (grounded theory method and thematic analysis), prototyping, experimental study design, mixed-methods 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

Collaborators: Anne Marie Piper, Katya Borgos-Rodriguez

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, TACCESS 2021

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

Past Projects

Accessibility in Remote Work for Neurodivergent Professionals

Collaborators: John Tang, Anne Marie Piper, Kathryn Ringland

Working from home has become a mainstream work practice in many organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote work has received much scholarly and public attention over the years, we still know little about how people with disabilities engage in remote work from their homes and what access means in this context. To understand and rethink accessibility in remote work, we conducted interviews with neurodivergent professionals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia) and psychosocial disabilities (e.g., anxiety, depression). Our analysis revealed that while working from home neurodivergent professionals create accessible physical and digital workspaces, negotiate accessible communication practices, and reconcile tensions between productivity and wellbeing. We offered practical insights for inclusive work practices and accessibility improvements in remote collaboration tools.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis

Publication: CSCW 2021

video conference

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

Gender-based Self-focus Bias in OpenStreetMap

Collaborators: 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

Collaborators: 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

Collaborators: Tanzima Hashem, Nusrat Jahan Mozumder

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


Click here to download my complete CV

  • Northwestern University, USA | Fall 2017 - Present | PhD in Technology and Social Behavior |
    Advisors: Darren Gergle and Anne Marie Piper
  • Northwestern University, USA | March 2021 | MS in Technology and Social Behavior | GPA: 3.97 out of 4.00
  • Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology | September 2015 | BS in Computer Science and Engineering with Honors | GPA: 3.85 out of 4.00 (top 6% of graduating class) |
    Advisor: Tanzima Hashem

Research Experience
  • Collaborative Technology Lab, Northwestern University | Fall 2017 - Present | Advised by Darren Gergle
  • Inclusive Technology Lab, Northwestern University | Spring 2018 - Present | Advised by Anne Marie Piper
  • Ability Team, Microsoft Research, USA | Summer 2020 | Mentored by John Tang
  • People, Space and Algorithms Group, Northwestern University | Fall 2017 - Summer 2018 | Mentored by Brent Hecht
  • Western Washington University, USA | Summer 2017 | Mentored by Moushumi Sharmin and Shameem Ahmed
  • Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology | 2014 - 2017 | Advised by Tanzima Hashem

Awards, Honors, & Grants
  • Graduate Research Grant | Northwestern University | 2021 ($2,999)
  • Finalist (top 20) | Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship 2020
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention Award | ACM CHI 2020
  • Best Paper Honorable Mention Award | ACM CSCW 2019
  • Special Recognition for Outstanding Review | ACM CHI 2021 (3 times), ACM CSCW 2019
  • Conference Travel Grant | Northwestern University | 2019, 2018 ($2,300 + $1,500)
  • Best Paper Award | IEEE COMPSAC 2018
  • Student Travel Grant | ACM UbiComp 2018 ($600)
  • Student Scholarship | Grace Hopper Celebration 2018
  • Best Undergraduate Thesis Award | Computer Science and Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology | 2015
  • Best Technical Poster | Grace Hopper Celebration India 2014
  • Student Scholarship | Grace Hopper Celebration India 2014
  • Dean’s List Award | Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology | 2011 - 2015
  • University Merit Scholarship | Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology | 2011 - 2014

Teaching Experience
  • United International University, Dhaka, Bangladesh | October 2015 - March 2017 |
    Lecturer, Department of Computer Science and Engineering


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

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

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