Portrait of Indrani Medhi Thies

Indrani Medhi Thies



Indrani Medhi Thies is a Researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India in Bangalore. Her research interest is in the area of User Interfaces, User Experience Design, and Technology for Global Development. Over the years Indrani’s primary work has been in User Interfaces for Low-Literate and Novice Technology Users. Her recent work is in User Experience of conversational agents, mainly chatbots. Indrani has a Ph.D. from the Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India; a Masters degree in Design from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT-ID), Chicago, USA; and a Bachelors degree in Architecture from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT, formerly VRCE), Nagpur, India.

Indrani has been listed in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Technology Review’s MIT TR35 2010 world’s top 35 innovators under the age of 35; has featured in the list of “50 Smartest People in Technology” by Fortune magazine; and has won the “Young Indian Leader” award from CNN IBN.

Indrani was born and raised in Guwahati, Assam. She lives in Bangalore with her husband Bill and baby girl Tara. When not working Indrani loves watching and reviewing Bollywood movies, and going on wildlife travels. She has featured in an advertising campaign with Bollywood star Farhan Akhtar. Video here.


Mobile Data Collection

Established: June 1, 2011

In rural settings within developing countries where digital devices are not pervasive, all written records are maintained on paper forms which take a long time to aggregate and process data, resulting in corresponding delays in remedial action. We study this…

Chatbots for young, urban India

Established: August 1, 2016

As text-messaging chatbots become increasingly “human”, it will be important to understand the personal interactions that users are seeking with a chatbot. What chatbot personalities are most compelling to young, urban users in India? To explore this question, we conducted…

VideoKheti- Video search for Low-Literate Users

Established: April 25, 2012

VideoKheti (CHI’13, DEV’13) is a multimodal video search system for low-literate farmers that combines local language speech, graphics and touch interaction to help find and watch agriculture extension videos (of digitalGreen), in the farmer’s own language and dialect. We investigate if the complementarity of speech, graphics…

KrishiPustak- Social Networking for Low-Literate Farmers

Established: January 1, 2014

With the wide penetration of mobile internet, social networking systems are becoming increasingly popular in the developing world. However, most social networking sites contain medium to heavy text, and are therefore unusable by low-literate populations. KrishiPustak (CSCW'15) is a research and design…

UIs for Low-Literate Users

Established: June 20, 2006

One of the greatest challenges in providing information and communication technology access is that about 775 million people in the world are completely non-literate and many are able to read only with great difficulty and effort. Even though mobile phone…

Project Mélange

Established: January 1, 2012

Project Mélange: Understanding MixEd LANguaGE and Code-mixing The goal of Project Mélange is to understand the uses of and build tools around code-mixing. Multilingual communities exhibit code-mixing, that is, mixing of two or more socially stable languages in a single…