There were emotional scenes at Microsoft yesterday as Principal Design Director Kat Holmes stepped down from her position at the company. With almost ten years at the firm, Holmes has been influential in a number of products and was named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business for 2017. She was also instrumental in the design of Cortana, the digital assistant now home to over 200 million devices. Holmes decided that unlike Siri, Microsoft's digital assistant shouldn't try to be human. Instead, her behaviors are modeled on real personal assistants, being open and trustworthy, but not exactly a friend. This focus on how humans interact and adapt led to the company's pioneering “inclusive design”. Holmes believed that by serving the needs of the disabled, they could also create better products for everyone. It's a concept that has been echoed in many of Microsoft's projects since, including OneNote Learning Tools, Skype, and Xbox.
Principal Design Director Kat Holmes Leaving Microsoft to ‘Start a New Adventure’
Kat Holmes was instrumental in the design of Cortana and pioneered Microsoft's inclusive design strategy that is present in many of its newer products. She leaves the company with 'a full heart'.