Nicole Yankelovich




When: 1998 – 2000.

What: Collaborative terminal application supporting secure remote access, shared telepointers, annotations, and web-based transcripts.

Where: Network Communities Group, Sun Microsystems Laboratories.

How: Principal Investigator. Tasks included project/people management, ethnographic study, interaction design, paper prototype, usability study, paper writing, and software demonstrations.

About the Project

SharedShell is a terminal program that enables multiple users to work together even though they may be in different geographic locations and behind firewalls. It is designed for engineers or system administrators who are engaged in remote troubleshooting over the phone. SharedShell makes it possible to see what is happening on a remote computer, point to items in the terminal window, draw in the window, and enter commands if the remote participant grants permission.

This prototype, created by my Network Communities group in Sun Labs, was the outgrowth of a three month ethnographic study of Sun’s customer care center. My colleagues and I did extensive observations and interviews with customer care reps, managers, and customers. We identified remote troubleshooting as a serious bottleneck that could be significantly improved with new collaboration software.

The demonstration video illustrates the problem, shows the methodology we used to design the software, and then shows the final prototype in action.

Several years after we built this prototyope, Sun’s customer support organization turned it into a product. The product is still in use today and is known as Oracle Shared Shell.

Related Publications

Sun SharedShell tool
N Yankelovich, JC Tang
Proceedings of the 2000 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative …
Sun [trademark] SharedShell tool
N Yankelovich, JB Begole, JC Tang
ACM 2000 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 2000
Network communities: supporting distributed field organizations
JC Tang, N Yankelovich
ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin 19 (3), 33-35


This entry was posted on June 8, 2013 by in Collaboration.
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