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
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
"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)
"Humanizing Technology", interview with Communication Arts Interactive Annual 2015 (web and print)
"Captivated by Her: A Design + Marketing Love Story", Yale Consumer Insights (web)
"Meet four people helping to design the future of Microsoft", Microsoft Stories (web)
Speaker + Contributor
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"
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
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"
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"
Microsoft CEO Quarterly Update with Satya Nadella (25k+ attendees)
Microsoft TechReady keynote (5k+ attendees)