Blurring the Lines: From Human Centered Design to Customer Driven Development

Moderated by:
Josh Damon Williams (Hot Studio, Inc. )
Darren David (Stimulant), Maria Giudice (Autodesk), Alon Salant (Carbon Five), Rob Spiro (Aardvark)
Design & User Experience
Location: 2001 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.05, 22 ratings)

This panel investigates and drills down into the practices that
designers, developers and product owners are learning to use across
their disciplines to ensure they successfully deliver their vision to
engaged customers.

Together designers, developers and product owners are learning to share responsibility for the customer experience and to coordinate their efforts to deliver a useful working product as early as possible to their users. They’re also finding new opportunities to test their ideas and evolve their vision while the product is being built.

Featuring an agile software developer, human-centered designers and a
start-up founder who are all knee deep in the process of bringing a
customer focus to all aspects of the product life cycle, we’ll
explore specific hybrid techniques that effectively merge a heavily
user-focused and research-driven product design process with a highly
iterative software development process.

Our panel will lay out specific guidelines on how best to accomplish
this — and showcase techniques like Wizard of Oz testing and running
experiments in the working product. Strategies and systems will be
explored to clearly address and answer questions such as: “When and
how do I do my research?”, “Am I defining a solution or a system?”, and “Will my design ever be fully realized?”

Photo of Josh Damon Williams

Josh Damon Williams

Hot Studio, Inc.

At Hot Studio, Inc., Josh Damon Williams is a Director of Product Strategy and he works with clients to make cool things. As a local leader for IxDA in San Francisco, he brings some of the best thinkers in interaction design to the design community in order to talk about cool things.

Since the late 20th century, he’s designed and developed for a wide variety of digital products and platforms, contributing to the vision, design, and implementation of projects at strategic and tactical levels. His work includes projects for LeapFrog,, The World Heritage Alliance (a partnership between the UN Foundation and Expedia, Inc.),, Cisco Systems, Warner Music Group, and Architecture for Humanity.

Prior to rediscovering San Francisco, Josh studied film in Los Angeles and slaved away for seven hard years in the animation industry where he supervised the digital composition of animated TV shows, commercials and video games. His most indulgent endeavor was the recent completion of an MFA in creative writing at University of San Francisco.

Photo of Darren David

Darren David


For over 15 years, Darren has traversed the blurry edges at the intersection of technology and design, exploring nearly every conceivable project role as both client and contributor. His rich and storied career has wound from paper to pixels to people, across a myriad of companies and ventures that ultimately led to several “world’s firsts” and awards. At Stimulant, he provides business, vision and experience design leadership for an inspiring team of like-minded compatriots and pioneers, from whom he learns something new every day.

Maria Giudice


Innovator, artist, protagonist, and positive provocateur, Maria has pursued a vision of intelligent, elegant, people-centered design throughout her professional life. Her grasp of the pragmatic, the authentic, and the essential have kept her at the forefront of design and business for over 25 years.

Under Maria’s leadership, Hot Studio, the experience design firm she founded in 1997, grew into a full-service creative agency with an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients. In March 2013, Facebook acquired the talent behind Hot Studio. In 2015, she joined Autodesk as VP, Experience Design. Her latest book, Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design, is published by New Riders. Maria is an AIGA Design Fellow. She has spoken at conferences all over the world and currently serves as an adjunct professor and trustee at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

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 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.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Jennifer Winters
05/08/2010 9:52am PDT

Great Panel. I would love to hear Darren David speak for an entire session. Everything he said was very helpful.

Picture of Michael Boor
Michael Boor
05/05/2010 10:49pm PDT

Sorry that should have been “Business Drivers

Picture of Michael Boor
Michael Boor
05/05/2010 10:48pm PDT

Great session: I’m now thinking of software development as “Agile Mashup” because the tenants of Agile are applied with compelling business rivers. Cross-functional participation and frequent feedback required for software development? What a concept!

Great session, thanks!

Silverlight Showcase
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • .CO
  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • Ericsson
  • Germany Trade & Invest
  • IBM
  • Berlin Partner
  • blueKiwi
  • EffectiveUI
  • HP
  • Neustar, Inc.
  • OpenSRS
  • OpenText
  • PayPal
  • Pearltrees
  • The Planet

Rob Koziura
(415) 947-6111

Kaitlin Pike
(415) 947-6306

View a complete list of Web 2.0 Expo contacts.