About me

I am a Ph.D. Student in Computer Science and Engineering at the Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington and presently being advised by Prof Jennifer Mankoff. My research has two foci: (1) to improve accessibility of software engineering to developers who are blind and visually impaired (BVI) through better nonvisual programming experiences, and (2) to invent new interaction techniques for efficient screen reader use. My efforts are focused on enabling BVI developers to build visually appealing layouts. Broadly, my research interests are in the areas of HCI and Accessibility.

Prior to starting at UW, I was a Research Fellow at Microsoft Research(MSR) India and was advised by Dr. Manohar Swaminathan. At MSR India, my work improved developer productivity for BVI developers in GUI based programming environments, and proposed recommendations to improve accessibility of ATM cash transactions for BVI users in India.

My journey starts with a B.Tech HONS and MS by Research (dual degree) from International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad where I was advised by Dr. Kishore S Prahallad and Dr. Priyanka Srivastava on my thesis on Audio Rendering of Mathematical Content. There is lots to know about me here. When we meet (in person or over a skype call), lets brainstorm on the next big opportunity to improve accessibility and make the world a more inclusive place.

Why accessibility?

Due to my vision impairment, I adapted various methods for learning and independent daily living. Given my exposure to a variety of Assistive Technology (AT) since early childhood, I came to believe that technology, when built with the right intent, can empower anybody and impact lives in positive ways. AT has undoubtedly had a great impact on mine. This independence that technology could offer was instrumental for me to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in Computer Science with research focused on improving accessibility.

Surmounting several admission rejections from educational institutions due to my disability, I was able to secure admission to a computer science degree at International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad completely based on merit.

While pursuing my engineering degree at IIIT, I realized that technology and access to STEM content were woefully inadequate to enable aspiring BVI students to achieve their goals in STEM-based careers. Given my technical abilities and experiences with the inadequacies in the current learning ATs, I decided to dedicate my masters study to rendering mathematical content in audio. This was my first interaction with research. On successfully defending my Masters’ thesis in 2015, I interned at Microsoft India Development Center, Hyderabad with a product team responsible for accessibility of Office apps on Android. While exploring the dynamics of product development through this internship, I understood that accessibility should be considered as a first principle, not a bolt-on, and I believed in a career in research would enable me to do that.

Here is my TEDxYouth talk describing my early journey and the wonderful support system I am fortunate to have.

Important Updates

  • I will be interning for summer 2020 with the ability team at Microsoft Research!
  • I have been awarded the Google Lime Scholarship for the year 2019! Extremely greatful for the fellowship, and humbled by learning about all the work that the other scholars were doing. Check out this Allen School news article.
  • CodeTalk is now open source! Click here for more information.
  • My thoughts on accessibility research have been published in a Microsoft news article on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.