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CM 139: Kat Holmes on the Power of Inclusive Design: What if you design a product or service that prevents certain people from using it? These kinds of mismatches are everywhere: a computer mouse that works only for the right-handed; credit-card-only payment systems that exclude those without credit; ...

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What if you design a product or service that prevents certain people from using it?



These kinds of mismatches are everywhere: a computer mouse that works only for the right-handed; credit-card-only payment systems that exclude those without credit; and even game controllers for gamers who can’t use their hands.



Inclusive design advocate, Kat Holmes, explains, “The design of the controller is an indicator of who gaming is for and who it is not for…to think that one little piece of plastic shaped in a particular way is a gateway requirement to who can and can’t participate…starts to become a really absurd idea.”



When this kind of exclusionary design scales, it can shape entire industries and markets. And for many designers, these outcomes are unintended. That's why Kat Holmes, UX designer and author of the book Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design, is a champion of inclusive design. In fact, she's developed a framework for design teams, so that more people can participate.



Kat argues that inclusive design should be a priority, not an afterthought. In addition to all the ways it helps people, it’s often been a smart business decision. To that end, Kat shares all the ways design teams can make this an ongoing part of the creative process: “…whether it’s the team…the work environment, the tools…the assumptions, all of these things are…opportunities for either balancing towards exclusion or towards inclusion.”



Kat served as Principal Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft and in 2017 was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. Today she serves as Director of User Experience Design at Google.



The Host



You can learn more about Curious Minds Host and Creator, Gayle Allen, and Producer, Rob Mancabelli, by visiting @CuriousGayle and www.gayleallen.net.



Episode Links



@katholmes



The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda



World Health Organization on disabilities



John Porter, UX Designer at Microsoft



Susan Goltsman and the Emergence of Inclusive Design



A Brief History of Closed Captioning (it all started with Julia Child)



Pellogrino Turri and The Technology of Compassion



Vint Cerf



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