10 Years of Being "In" a Wheelchair

Today, 10 years ago, I was in a car accident that ended up severing my spinal cord, and I have been "in" a wheelchair ever since. Yeah, yeah, the awkward silence, the teary-eyed pitiful looks, the awws and omg-that-sounds-so-sads. Stop it. People with disabilities are not rare, alien creatures you hide your kids from in a grocery store (yes, that did happen). We're part of this society. And disabi...

Stop Calling People "Impaired"

Google "impair," and we get: "weaken or damage something (especially a human faculty or function)." I am not advocating for removing emotionally-destructive barbarous words from the vocabulary entirely, but really, summon every ounce of ethics and morality within yourself and ask -- is this how we want to describe people? The "damaged" ones?

Accessibility 2.0: Nothing About Us, Without Us

"Accessibility" is like Bianca Del Rio from RuPaul's Drag Race. It's just so sexy that everyone wants to talk about it, showcase their interest, and (likely) make up stories of how much they know it--without actually knowing much about it.

I Exist Because ADA Exists

Today, we celebrate 30 years of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 3 whole decades! For people who haven't had a reason to encounter that acronym before, it's less exciting. Like, on a scale of i-live-in-Florida-and-i-will-wear-a-mask to omg-who-is-Clare-Crawley-going-to-pick, it's probably like i-will-like-this-post-but-won't-really-make-an-effort-to-learn-more-about-what-its-saying. But for ...

Rest In Peace, Decade 2010 - 2019

I usually write a goodbye post each year to recall all the so-grateful-for-it, the not-so-ideal, and the shoot-me-dead moments for that year. But this year it's a bit extra special - it's the end of a decade. What an absolute crazy decade it was.

Using Google Sheets as a Database for React Apps

We would like a custom-made website and a little birdie told us React is what the cool kids are going for these days - like, it's faster, scalable, and easy to update compared to Wordpress? But we want to be able to update the content ourselves. Like, everything. Oh, Post...what? Postgres? What's that? No, we don't know MySQL either. Firebase? I feel attacked by yet another tech jargon! Why can't ...

A Picture Says a Thousand Words, But Not Really

Zoey loves browsing the Internet. They enjoy getting lost in the interconnected web full of information, unraveling pieces of knowledge that are bookmark worthy. But they don't enjoy skimming through large bodies of text. They prefer pictures. A lot of them. They go through their crush's photos on Facebook before they even consider reading their bio. Their yearning for memes and visualizations is ...

Personalized Designs

Universal design (UD) has, over the years, become a very popular concept. It is the focus of several academic research topics, a key driver for industrial products, the limelight of talks and presentations, and arguably, the pinnacle for advertising one's work. Theoretically, UD is synonymous to Design for All (DfA). However, in reality, UD only works for most people, most of the time, refuting th...

10 Things I've Realized In The Past 10 Years

I turn 30 today. My friends have continuously rubbed it on my face that I am now an old man. So, I'll do an old man thing. I'll share 10 things that I've realized in the past 10 years. I still haven't gotten my wisdom teeth removed so, I'm still wise. I think.

Teach Access Study Away Engages Students to Help Build a Better Future

Ph.D. student Ather Sharif recounts how this year's Teach Access Study Away program in Silicon Valley connected participants to the skills, knowledge, and networking contacts needed to build accessible technologies for the future.

Relying on SEPTA elevators? Here are some things you should know about.

56th Street Station's elevators are going berserk these days. SEPTA elevators malfunction during extreme weather conditions. And Fridays are the worst bet to take an elevator at the MFL stations.

Here's 5 things I experienced at the Geek Awards

The 7th annual Geek Awards took place this past weekend at the String Theory Schools. Amazing event, great people, and extraordinary things that I will remember for a very long time.

Goodbye, 2016.

So, yes, Trump was chosen to be the president. David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Gene Wilder, George Michael, Natalie Cole, Alan Rickman and Muhammad Ali, among many others, were taken away from us. Brexit happened. Several planes crashed, a gazillion bombs were blasted, and a ridiculous amount of new racial slurs were invented every passing minute. Heck, Kim Kardashian was robbed.

America, Trump and TACOS

I am brown. I am a Pakistani. I am a Muslim. I am disabled. And now, I am scared.

How NOT to Organize an Event

"Do you ever sleep? Like at all?" Since the past ten days, I've been asked this question about 27 times. Could be my eyes being vampire red all day or my emails having a timestamp of usually 3 am. Or just because my face looks stoned all the time. But here's the truth.

The Light Before the Tunnel Starts

2 hours and 47 minutes ago I finished watching the Season 2 Finale of The Comeback. Just another TV show on my list to put a check mark next to. But it made me think about something. It made me think about the light. And it was not the light at the end of the tunnel.

How it feels like to be the Geek of the Year...

A lot of people asked me how I felt right after I won the Geek of the Year Award at the Philadelphia Geek Awards 2015. I told them it felt like I was in a dream and I would wake up any second to realize this wasn't real. I told them that was the reason why I wasn't jumping around everywhere going crazy (not that it's physically possible, anyway). But that wasn't even the half of it.

Now you know what I did last summer

You know how they say - when you're in a grad school, summers are a blessing. And they are - only if you know you can use them to shape your future. I was presented with a few internship opportunities during the Spring semester. I decided to decline all of them. Sounds like I was out of my mind but before you jump to that conclusion, let me explain to you why I did what I did.

What I Learnt from being Blind for 24 Hours

After having been pretending to be blind and trying to browse the Web for about 24 hours, I can't even begin to explain how important web accessibility is. It is a whole new world relying on screen readers to extract the information present on a web page. It is also a realization of how much most of us, sighted users, take vision for granted. Animated text, graphics, pictures, visual representatio...