Elyon DeKoven

 

So what about me?

Start with play, art and nature. Now mix in some math, relational databases, and visual programming; user experience research, autonomous vehicles, and search engine optimization; games, rules, strategy and education. Mixed just right, and you might get me.

I like to play with the rules, with other people, for exponential benefit. Maybe that’s why math was fun for me; I admired the structures, the rules, and the art, and there were so many ways for me to play with math with other people. I called myself a "math activist" for a while, and organized the Creative Math Festival for Santa Cruz County. The event brought in math artists, dancers, and media companies, to play math together with math students, teachers, families, and fans. Later I went on to get a Master’s in pure math, just because.

At Hewlett Packard Labs I played with visual structure and knowledge management. We wanted people to paint data flow and control flow; to drag-and-drop their way to office automation, personal information management, and communication services.

Collaboration is also fun for me - facilitation, brainstorming, collaborative problem solving. My PhD work approached the design of everyday smart products, like home thermostats, entertainment systems, and cell phones, from a collaborative perspective. The reasoning was, if teamwork makes people work better together, it should work for smart products and their people, as well. My dissertation lays conceptual groundwork, presents some example designs and studies, and demonstrates an efficient design engineering model to support ongoing research in the area. (Hint: the keys were task models, participatory design, and collaborative discourse theory.)

After the PhD, I led a multi-year multi-million dollar research and development project using math (artificial intelligence), collaboration (computational linguistics) and participatory design (toys and fruity pens) for the US Army. We built an extendable research platform for investigation of human interaction with semi-autonomous robotic vehicles, with the specific goal of helping a single human effectively command multiple machines at once.

Lately I've been more into social media and web usability. I like search engine optimization and information architecture; for me they are about researching how others think - the words people really use, the way they express what they want. Recently I started a blog on the ad consumer experience - how people play with ads (particularly interactive online advertising), and just started work with folks from CRI at the University of Haifa on a project concerning small-group conversations in a museum, using electronic guides (like PDAs).

So what else?

Projects

An overview of various projects and positions I have had over the years.

Papers

An almost-complete listing of my publications, awards, and honors.

Blog

Rants and missives, and feeds from my blogs and other social media.

Links

Descriptions and links to work related to my own, or work that I think is cool in its own right.