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University of Michigan School of Information


Vaishnav Kameswaran

A headshot of Vaishnav Kameswaran


Email: [email protected]

My name is Vaishnav Kameswaran and I am a PhD candidate in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. I am advised by Sile O’Modhrain and Tiffany Veinot. My research and teaching interests are in the areas of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Accessibility and Disability Studies.

My research aims to broaden the theoretical concept of “independence,” a metric often used to evaluate the effectiveness of technologies designed for people with disabilities. My dissertation uses peoples software updates experiences as a case study to unpack how notions of independence change over time, and how technology contributes to those changes. Software updates are primary mechanisms for improving users’ experiences with technology. However, since technologies often take the sightedness of their users for granted, software updates too regularly cause the loss of app accessibility for people with visual impairments, thereby disrupting their routines and affecting their sense of independence. 

My prior work has led to 15+ peer-reviewed publications at top HCI venues, such as CSCW, CHI, ASSETS, FAccT and ICTD, and has received Best Paper and Honorable Mention Awards. My research is supported by the prestigious Rackham Pre-doctoral fellowships and grants from the University of Michigan’s International Institute and School of Information. I believe in translating my research into practice and have worked extensively with community organizations in the Detroit Area, raising over $20,000 in funding to support their activities. I have held several internships and visiting researcher positions at top labs in the industry, including Microsoft Research and Google.

Personal website


Dissertation title

Understanding the Software Update Experiences of People with Visual Impairments in India

Fields of interest

Human-Computer Interaction


Bachelor of Computer Engineering, Ramaiah Insitute of Technology, 2010
Master of Information, University of Michigan - School of Information, 2015
PhD in Information, UMSI, 2022

Selected Publications

How Platform-User Power Relations Shape Algorithmic Accountability: A Case Study of Instant Loan Platforms and Financially Stressed Users in India
D Ramesh, V Kameswaran, D Wang, N Sambasivan
2022 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT '22)

Understanding Accessibility and Collaboration in Programming for People with Visual Impairments
M Pandey, V Kameswaran, HV Rao, S O'Modhrain, S Oney
Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 5 (CSCW1), 1-30

Understanding in-situ use of commonly available navigation technologies by people with visual impairments
Vaishnav Kameswaran, Alexander J. Fiannaca, Melanie Kneisel, Amy Karlson, Edward Cutrell, Meredith Ringel Morris
The 22nd international ACM SIGACCESS conference on computers and accessibility

Cash, Digital Payments and Accessibility: A Case Study from Metropolitan India
V Kameswaran, S Hulikal Muralidhar
Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 3 (CSCW), 1-23

'We can go anywhere': Understanding Independence through a Case Study of Ride-hailing Use by People with Visual Impairments in metropolitan India
V Kameswaran, J Gupta, J Pal, S O'Modhrain, TC Veinot, R Brewer, Aakanksha Parameshwar, Jacki O’Neill
Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 2 (CSCW), 85

In The News

  1. Research on financially stressed users in India
  2. Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship Award
  3. Diversity and Inclusion award @ CSCW 2021
  4. Best Paper Award @ CSCW 2018