Kat Holmes

Kat Holmes, named one of Fast Company's “Most Creative People in Business” in 2017, is founder of Kata, a design firm with the mission of advancing inclusive product development. She served as the Principal Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft from 2014 to 2017, and led that company's executive program for inclusive product innovation. In 2018, Holmes joined Google and continues to advance inclusive development for some of the most influential technologies in the world.

  • Mismatch

    Mismatch

    How Inclusion Shapes Design

    Kat Holmes

    How inclusive methods can build elegant design solutions that work for all.

    Sometimes designed objects reject their users: a computer mouse that doesn't work for left-handed people, for example, or a touchscreen payment system that only works for people who read English phrases, have 20/20 vision, and use a credit card. Something as simple as color choices can render a product unusable for millions. These mismatches are the building blocks of exclusion. In Mismatch, Kat Holmes describes how design can lead to exclusion, and how design can also remedy exclusion. Inclusive design methods—designing objects with rather than for excluded users—can create elegant solutions that work well and benefit all.

    Holmes tells stories of pioneers of inclusive design, many of whom were drawn to work on inclusion because of their own experiences of exclusion. A gamer and designer who depends on voice recognition shows Holmes his “Wall of Exclusion,” which displays dozens of game controllers that require two hands to operate; an architect shares her firsthand knowledge of how design can fail communities, gleaned from growing up in Detroit's housing projects; an astronomer who began to lose her eyesight adapts a technique called “sonification” so she can “listen” to the stars.

    Designing for inclusion is not a feel-good sideline. Holmes shows how inclusion can be a source of innovation and growth, especially for digital technologies. It can be a catalyst for creativity and a boost for the bottom line as a customer base expands. And each time we remedy a mismatched interaction, we create an opportunity for more people to contribute to society in meaningful ways.

    • Hardcover $22.95 £17.99

Contributor

  • Resisting Reduction

    Designing Our Complex Future with Machines

    Joichi Ito

    Provocative, hopeful essays imagine a future that is not reduced to algorithms.

    When Joi Ito published an essay, “Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto,” about human flourishing in an age of machine intelligence, his argument against industrial optimizations in the pursuit of growth and for the importance of natural complexity and resilience received such an impassioned response that he invited writers to develop full-length essays continuing the conversation. Resisting Reduction is the result: Ito's manifesto and nine equally provocative responses, all imagining a future that is not limited by a worldview defined by algorithm. Rather than await our inevitable domination by machines, Ito and his respondents argue, we should work toward a future of interconnected complex systems.

    Ito blames Silicon Valley's “groupthink” and “cult of technology” for claiming that narrow technical solutions can resolve the world's complex problems. More computing power does not make us more “intelligent,” he tells us, only more computationally powerful. In their responses, the other writers offer persuasive and compelling variations on Ito's argument. Among other things, they call for a “Human+AI Centaur” as the best way to augment intelligence; draw on indigenous epistemology to argue for an extended “circle of relationships” that includes the nonhuman and robotic; debunk the myth of the lone pioneer and propose instead a model of adaptive interconnectivity; cast “Snow White” as a tale of AI featuring a “smart mirror”; point out the “cisnormativity” of security protocol algorithms; and consider the limits of moral mathematics.

    Contributors Noelani Arista, Nicky Case, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Vafa Ghazavi, Kat Holmes, Joi Ito, Suzanne aka Kite, Cathryn Klusmeier, Jason Edward Lewis, Molly McCue, Archer Pechawis, Jaclyn Sawyer, Gary Zhexi Zhang, Snoweria Zhang

    • Paperback $17.95 £12.99