I am a human-computer interaction researcher. I study the impact of sociotechnical systems, including novel AI-powered experiences, on people with disabilities. My research findings inform inclusive and ethically-designed processes and experiences.
As of September, 2022 I'm a Senior Research Scientist in Google Research's Responsible AI and Human Centered Technology organization. Previously, I was a postdoctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute and a researcher at Apple, Inc. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Washington’s Human Centered Design and Engineering Department and I interned at Microsoft Research. I received my BA in Psychology with minors in African American Studies and Women’s Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
I have received funding from a Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Eight of my co-authored papers at the ACM’s ASSETS, CHI, and DIS conferences have received awards.
I update this website minimally. Open access links to all of my publications and recorded presentations are on my CV, which is frequently updated and structured to be very accessible, and with versions hosted online or downloadable. Read my About page for a few things that are not on my CV.
Current Research Focuses
- The intersection of AI, novel accessibility solutions, and bias. Recent outcomes include:
- A position paper, a technical report, and podcasts (e.g., Radical AI and The Good Robot on AI, bias, and disability. They argue for cautious AI deployments and for more attention to potential disability bias in AI systems more generally, and attention to the ways AI-powered accessibility solutions may also be harmful. These topics remain under-discussed in popular AI-bias discourse.
- This publication and this WWDC talk (excerpt starting at 13:12) on bias and ethics concerns around ML generating descriptions of people in images. While they are intended to make photos accessible to blind people who cannot see them, ML-generated image descriptions may also perpetuate documented race, gender, and disability-based bias.
- This publication on ethical concerns related to interactions among people with disabilities and semiautonomous delivery robots in public space.
- Cultivating accessible computing research labs and design studios which invite, celebrate, and incorporate disability culture. Some outcomes include:
- Access Is... My keynote arguing that accessibility is a process, not a product, requiring structural support and collective participation.
- A publication on current accessibility practices researchers and disability organizers engage to run accessible human-centered methods such as interviewing, design workshops, and user tests. We created a workflow diagram and tips you can incorporate into your own practice, and hopefully, improve upon and share back.
- Bringing disability activism and perspectives into HCI research and professional design: Some papers concern what it’s like to ‘Live Disability theory’ as disabled women academics, a critique of empathy’s application to understand disability experience in human centered design, disability design storytelling through Biographical Prototypes, and honoring Interdependence from disability activism as generative for accessibility design and research.
June 2022: Congratulations to Frank Elavsky who presented his first lead-author paper as a Ph.D. student! He invited me to help write his open source Chartability principles and heuristics for evaluating the accessibility of digital data experiences up for the EuroVIS academic community.
May 2022: I presented a talk called Centering People in Information Translation to Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, and discussant Professor Roanne Kantor followed with a fantastic and provocative response. The talk overviewed my research on the politics of human and machine-written image descriptions of race, gender, and disability, and recent art and activist commentary and futuring on human-centered approaches to ever-automating information translation. Professor Kantor’s response enriched my talk by bringing in connections to disability law, digital media history, and feminist theory.
May 2022: Kelly Mack did an awesome job leading a team of 8 researchers and presenting our resulting honorable mentioned CHI 2022 paper! We interviewed researchers and community organizers to learn how they currently host accessible human-centered studies and events. Here is the video presentation. Here is a list of tips we learned that you can apply to run your own accessible research. Here is a blog version of the academic paper. Pay attention to the acknowledgements and participants as some consented to be named, and support their work as you can. TL/DR accessibility is a research specialization but all research should be accessible. Anticipating accessibility and openness to flexibility smooths the inevitable last-minute adjustments that become necessary on mixed-ability teams.
April 2022: Congratulations to Candace Williams who published her first lead-author paper as a Ph.D. student to the Web4All conference! It describes her Apple internship project on two important facets of image accessibility--the prevalence and quality of recently-published computing paper figure alt text, several of which describe complex compositions of charts and images of systems, and insights from interviews with computing paper authors on opportunities to improve paper and figure-creation tools.