Inclusion by Design

Bio + Media

Image Credit: Fast Company

Image Credit: Fast Company

Kat Holmes is the founder of Kata, a company that helps leaders build equitable digital experiences. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2017, Kat is best known for her leadership in reexamining disability and diversity as a source of innovation. Previously, as Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft, she led a team of designers, strategists, and researchers to improve the inclusivity of products like Windows, Cortana, Xbox, and Office. She currently works with teams across the industry on recognizing who’s excluded from using their products and redesigning solutions in collaboration with people who have a range of abilities and disabilities.  

She led the development of the Microsoft Inclusive Design toolkit, described in the February 2016 issue of Fast Company as a "radical" evolution of design thinking and practices. Unlike traditional approaches to accessibility, Holmes emphasizes studying the way people interact with each other as an analog for better interactions between people and technology. Her aim is to create solutions that are adaptive, personal, and accessible.

She’s also passionate about filmmaking as part of the design process. Most recently she produced "Inclusive", documenting the key insights and partners that led to this emerging design approach.

In 2014 she collaborated with VICE Motherboard and Warner Brothers to create a two-part documentary: Captivated by Her, inspired by the Spike Jonze film “Her.” The documentary follows workshops with students, artists and innovators to explore how human emotion can inspire new interactions with technology.

Holmes is frequently invited to speak about design at events and companies, most recently at Twitter, O'Reilly Design, the White House's "South by South Lawn" festival, Pixar, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Girls Who Code. She enjoys working with students and universities to bring inclusive design to their curricula. She has a growing interest in how inclusive design can benefit startups and NGO's. 

Her work centers around three core values:

1. There's no such thing as an average human being.
2. People should be in the lead, not just the center, of technology.
3. Work with people who you enjoy being around. Make something worth making. Have fun

Learn more on LinkedIn.


Featured Writing + Media

Stories on Medium

2017

Named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business, design category

High Resolution, featured interview, "Design Masters" series (upcoming May 2017)

IxDA Interaction Awards, "Empowering" Best in Category and "Connecting" Finalist for Inclusive toolkit

"A Human-Led Approach to Tackling Society's Challenges", O'Reilly Design podcast

2016

"Who Gets to Play", contributing author, design.blog at Automattic (web)

"Microsoft's Radical Bet on a New Type of Design Thinking", interview with Fast Company (web and print) 

2015

"Humanizing Technology", interview with Communication Arts Interactive Annual 2015 (web and print)

2014

"Captivated by Her: A Design + Marketing Love Story", Yale Consumer Insights (web)

"Philosophy of Design", Next at Microsoft Podcast (web and SoundCloud)

"Meet four people helping to design the future of Microsoft", Microsoft Stories (web) 


Speaker +  Contributor

2017

Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity (upcoming, Oct)

Design & Content Conference, keynote speaker, (upcoming, July 17-19)

O'Reilly Design Conference, keynote speaker

Twitter, speaker, "Design for 7 Billion. Design for One."

South by Southwest, speaker, "Empathy Building for Innovation"

American Institute of Architects +  Seattle CfDA, exhibit curator, "Open to All"

2016

Fortune's Most Powerful Women, selected attendee, Next Gen Summit

South by South Lawn, selected attendee, White House Festival of Ideas, Art, and Action

design.co, host, Inclusive Design workshop with John Maeda

Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, speaker, Designers in Tech Series, "Introduction to Inclusive Design"

Toyota Research Institute, selected attendee, Tech + Policy Leadership Salon

Microsoft Australian Partner Conference, keynote, interview, "Design for 7 Billion, Design for One"

University of Technology Sydney Hatchery, panelist, "What I Didn't Learn in Design School" series

Sydney Design Festival, keynote, "Design for 7 Billion, Design for One"

2015

Pixar University Lecture Series, "Introduction to Inclusive Design"

Walt Disney Imagineering, Orlando Conference, "Through the Looking Glass"

RISD/Brown University, Inclusive Design Workshop, "Aiming for Optimal Inclusivity"

2014

Microsoft CEO Quarterly Update with Satya Nadella (25k+ attendees)

Microsoft TechReady keynote (5k+ attendees)