Nicole Yankelovich


About This Portfolio & Bio

NicoleLecturing2-crpThis portfolio web site provides short descriptions of the major projects I have worked on since the beginning of my career. The projects are organized in reverse chronological order. Use the links on the right under the Portfolio heading to browse each project, or return to the Portfolio Home Page to see an illustration and short synopsis of each project.

Brief Bio

I started designing software my last year in college. I was an undergraduate research assistant in the Brown University computer graphics group. I was assigned to author one of the world’s first electronic books – a sonar maintenance and repair manual. By the time the manual was complete, I had cajoled the graduate student software developer into redesigning the entire authoring system. It would be years before the term interaction designer was coined, but I discovered that I had a flare for just that. When faced with this unusable piece of software, I was able to visualize how the user interaction could be changed to streamline the authoring process and dramatically improve the end-user experience.

Inspired by the success of the sonar manual, I decided I wanted to be a software designer. In 1983, however, there were no HCI graduate programs. Instead of graduate school, I opted for a hands-on experience and stayed at Brown University as one of the founding members of the Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship (IRIS). There, working with a group of incredibly talented recent graduates, we designed an early hypertext system called Intermedia. The people who funded our research from IBM referred to us as the “children’s crusade” – a group of young people out to change the world. Our technology did not ultimately prevail, but we made substantial contributions to the field including the concept of link anchors, which eventually became the familiar “<a href=””> notation in the HTML specification.

After 9 years working at IRIS, I accepted a job at Sun Microsystems in the research lab. My first project was working on a “vision project” led by former Apple UI guru, Bruce Tognazini. The result of this work was a Knowledge-Navigator like video called Starfire. After that, I founded four research groups – Speech Applications, Network Communities, Collaborative Environments, and Wonderland – and managed each of those as a Principal Investigator. The main projects my teams worked on in those groups can be found by browsing the Portfolio links on the right side of this page. During my tenure at Sun, I was awarded 7 US patents.

When Sun was acquired by Oracle in 2010, two of my colleagues and I left the company and founded a software company called WonderBuilders as well as a non-profit organization called the Open Wonderland Foundation. Having never worked on the business side of projects before, becoming an entrepreneur has rounded out my experience. The company was in business for five years and never took on any debt or outside funding. In 2015 I started Envisiture Consulting, my own independent software design consulting organization.

The links on the left side of this page provide details about my skills and experience.

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