Human diversity. Is it the secret fuel for great customer experiences or an obstacle to be mitigated? When creating products and services, businesses constantly face a critical question: can one product be meaningful to billions of people? Humans have been at the center of design practices for a long time, yet technology is poor at adapting to their unique needs. Join Kat Holmes to explore how designing for human diversity can unlock more meaningful experiences for each of us and result in better technologies for all of us.
Kat Holmes is the director of inclusive design across Microsoft’s leading products, including Windows, Xbox, and Office. Kat is best known for her thought leadership in reexamining disability and diversity as a source of innovation. Unlike traditional approaches to accessibility, Kat 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 leads organizations in identifying simple, transformative insights that result in differentiated customer experiences. Kat led the development of the Microsoft Inclusive Design toolkit, which Fast Company described as a “radical” evolution of design thinking and practices. 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, Kat collaborated with Vice Motherboard and Warner Brothers to create Captivated by Her, a two-part documentary inspired by the Spike Jonze film Her, which follows workshops with students, artists, and innovators to explore how human emotion can inspire new interactions with technology. Kat is frequently invited to speak about design at events and companies, most recently at 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 NGOs.
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