Can't We Just All Get Along? Human-centered Design Meets Agile Development

Design & User Experience
Location: 2005 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 6 ratings)

How can designers and developers work together in a process that seems to be contradictory in nature — and how does visual design fit into the picture? How can we best create integration, collaboration and implementation around seemingly divergent methodologies and languages?

Human-centered design — basing its insights on thoughtful user research, iterating early through documentation, and beginning development much later in the process once the design has been fully fleshed out — has become the de-facto process and approach for the creation of useful and desirable products. At the same time, Agile Development — promoting developing early and often in short iteration cycles with tight feedback loops — has become the standard for developing useful software.

Our panel is moderated by Maria Giudice of Hot Studio and consists of designers, developers and clients. We will discuss how the two processes can co-exist, complement and thrive within certain rules and conditions. Our session will describe and explore the differences between the two approaches, when it’s appropriate to use agile development, how to integrate this popular method into the human-centered design and research process — and why client needs and today’s marketplace are increasingly demanding these collaborative techniques.

Photo of Alon Salant

Alon Salant

Carbon Five

Alon Salant is a founder and owner of Carbon Five, a software development firm dedicated to delivering high value software through an agile collaboration with its clients. Alon has over ten years experience delivering web applications to his clients. His areas of expertise include Agile Coaching, software design, automated testing and rubber-hits-the-road software development. He has written articles and book contributions for O’Reilly and spoken at JavaOne, CodeCon and Bay Area-based user groups on technology and process topics. He holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Photo of Maria Giudice

Maria Giudice

Hot Studio

Maria Giudice is the CEO and Founder of Hot Studio, Inc., a San Francisco-based, human-centered design studio dedicated to making the complex beautifully clear. Maria is considered a pioneer in the field of information architecture and was prominently featured in the 1996 book Information Architects by Richard Saul Wurman. In 2002, she was included in the book 1000 Most Creative Individuals in the USA. Maria has coauthored two best-selling books about web design: Web Design Essentials and Elements of Web Design. Since 1997 Maria has lead Hot Studio’s team of individuals dedicated to creating design systems that are both beautiful and highly functional. Maria has more than 20 years of experience working with and mentoring people from many different disciplines. Maria holds a degree from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and has spoken about design and the power of collaboration at conferences around the world.

Arena Reed


Arena Reed is Lead User Experience Designer at Grockit, a startup practicing Agile Design & Development to create an online learning game where people learn by teaching eachother. Previously, she was Lead Designer at Pivotal Labs, an Agile software services company and the makers of Pivotal Tracker, an Agile planning tool. Arena has over 3 years experience working as a team member with Agile software developers and over 12 years experience doing design and illustration including visual and interactive design for software applications.

Photo of Rob Spiro

Rob Spiro


Rob Spiro is the co-founder of Aardvark, a fifteen-person startup in San Francisco working on Social Search. As assistant curator of birds, he leads user research and product design. Previously, Rob worked in consulting and co-founded Mifly, a mobile software startup. Rob holds a BA in History from Yale.

Photo of Dave Shih

Dave Shih

Hot Studio

Dave Shih is a Senior Visual Designer at Hot Studio, a people-centered design firm based in San Francisco. While at Hot Studio, Dave worked on various Agile driven projects including Viscape and Cisco EOS. Prior to Hot Studio, Dave was a visual designer at Yahoo!, where he worked on numerous sites including Yahoo! Sports, My Yahoo!, and the FIFA World Cup. Dave holds a B.A. degree in Design from UCLA.

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