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Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design

(Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  590 ratings  ·  71 reviews
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 prod ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by MIT Press (first published September 21st 2018)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  590 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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This book was so disappointing. I really want to read a practical, insightful book on inclusive design since it is such an important part of my next chapter of work. But this was not it. It had some great points. But it really should have been an article instead of a book. It was repetitive and rudimentary. It lacked depth and practical tips. Bummer. Recommendations welcomed on great books for putting inclusive design into practice!
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I filled the margins of all pages with sticky notes.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a short book, and it often spins its wheels a bit, but the main premise and "Chapter 7: There is No Such Thing as Normal" make it worth the read. ...more
Lorenzo Barberis Canonico
Foucault would be into this

Rustin would also be into this

Steve Jobs would also probably be into this

The author's thesis fits very well with a lot of the ideas I've been coming across regarding the positive role of inclusion in designing technology and policy programs that promote the least-advantaged person in a way that propagates into improvements for the rest of society. 
Tim Kadlec
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at

Inclusion has become a borderline buzzword that many companies like to throw around but few know how to actually prioritize. Mismatch attempts to fix that by helping to provide a framework for how to design and build more inclusive experiences. At less than 200 pages, Mismatch is a brisk read and it's not going to cover everything you need to know. It does, however, do a very good job of tearing down the blinders we wear and h

Isabelle Bradbury
As a student studying special education and disability, I am well versed in the idea of inclusion. It’s a word I use nearly every day. While I have written entire essays on how to make early childhood classrooms more inclusive for those with special needs, I had never even thought about how the general population was being excluded in broader terms (i.e. mouses being designed specifically for those right-handed, studies on car crashes being done with the average male body even though females are ...more
Stefan Schmager
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exclusion means rejection. And nobody likes to be rejected. Yet, millions of people are being rejected by everyday objects because they have been built in a way that mismatch with their abilities.
Kat Holmes provides a great shift in perspective on inclusive design and how it will benefit everyone in the long run.
Kat Holmes calls on all of us who make things (whether you call yourself a designer or something else) to recognize the power we have to determine who can participate in society and who’s left out. Focusing primarily on disability in her book, she suggests that disability is not a personal health condition but rather a mismatch between a person’s abilities and their environment. Doing something about this mismatch is not about “doing the right thing” or “being a good person”.

Holmes outlines the
Michael MacDonald
Dear Kat,

I will often write a brief review lauding the merits of a recently finished book, sharing thoughts and observations about its contents. However, in this case, I wanted to take a slightly different approach and write a note directly to you as the author. This 'review' is going to be a distillation of of your efforts have impacted me personally.

I stumbled on your book purely by chance. Lucky for me though that I opted to read it right away. I am currently pursuing some academic work in th
Jessica Kaufman
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for anyone teaching engineering design (or any design). If we design solutions for the people old designs excluded, we will design solutions that fit more people and require less expensive retrofitting after release. COVID19 has created the dilemma for all of us that physical spaces don't work as intended. Inclusive design is a key tool to fixing our built environment to reopen schools and businesses. ...more
Harmen Janssen
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
An extremely motivating read, containing profound ideas that stuck with me.
I can't wait to put these into practice.
Ivy Chen
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
currently reading but this has got to be the best book ive read so far in 2020
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strong words, great input on the topic...but in the end I kind of asked myself if the key messages of this book is really just that inclusion should be a early part of product development? Because if so I am sad, that we need in 2019 a book to say something like that. I would recommend the book for inclusion newbies and as I would not consider myself a newbie I sometimes find the contet a bit too much strong words and less solid indications. However it is well written and therefore 4 star worthy ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it did not like it
I've both often thought about and read about the topics in this book, but the treatment given by Holmes is underwhelming to say the least. Her book is chock full of buzzwords, but there is precious little substance to be had. The entire thesis could be summarized by chapters 7 & 8, nearly everything else is filler.

Where to begin? I'll start with the positive: the cover design is elegant.

Other than that, everything was bad. There was a lot of unnecessary businessese, tons of empty or unsubstantia
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Starting off this year with a 5 star book!

To be honest, I haven't read many design books or articles that really introduced something that changes my mind. Sure, I've read things that added to my knowledge, but Holmes here has flipped what I know and presented it in an articulate way what I thought was incorrect and actionable items to do instead.

A big tldr; currently a lot of people/companies throw around the world inclusion but very few people actually design with inclusion in mind, and for th
Mohit Dhanjani
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I will second Meredith's review of this book.

I must point out that Chapter 6: There’s No Such Thing as Normal was truly beautiful. I have been struggling since long about the culture in my region where people call others "average" or "not average" in terms of looks or behavior. This language of math to describe people didn't really made sense to me. In this entire book this chapter is most valuable for me.

On the other hand, the book was not as enlightening as I thought it might be. I follow Ms.
Danni Green
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adxs, being-alive
This book addresses accessibility and access barriers from a design perspective. It simplifies many basic principles of accessibility in ways I think would be valuable for someone unfamiliar with them, but they will really only be valuable if the reader is committed to putting them into practice and not just considering this in the abstract or as a thought exercise. It seemed like a major oversight that the book includes numerous illustrations with no image descriptions; as someone with low visi ...more
Sam Jacob
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This book was introduced to me through User Defenders Podcast community book club. This was a very short book with just 10 chapters short.

Being a UI/UX designer I loved to read and listen to anything that deals with user experience design and its best practices. Kat Holmes has opened my eyes to what we have been doing for a long time in our own design decisions. She has detailed out how we often come into conclusions on design decision leaving a major mismatch behind so that the other group of p
Jan 31, 2021 added it
Kat Holmes has been a huge influence on the last 4 years of my career and I didn't realize it until today. Holmes formerly lead Microsoft's executive program for inclusive product design. This book expands on work she did there, which I had originally stumbled upon in Seattle in the from of a tool kit / booklet outlining strategies for developing inclusive design. She breaks her thinking down into 5 cagetories: Who makes it, how it's made, who uses it, what we make and why we make. This book is ...more
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was ok
First can we talk about the irony that this book was published in a serif font? The cover art and chapter titles used a san serif font but not the main text.

That annoyance aside, this book is a basic introduction to inclusive design. As a designer for 20 years, I didn’t find much that was earth shattering. How inclusive design expands beyond architecture was probably was the most beneficial. The diagrams are rudimentary, seem like filler and don’t offer much to the discussion. I kept waiting fo
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Essential reading for anyone creating for others

Don’t enter this book thinking it’s about coding accessible websites or meeting WCAG guidelines in a product. It’s so much more than that. Mismatch is an info-rich guide to aligning your priorities and practice to creating better solutions by including more people. Step out of the accessibility-as-a-checklist mind and into a truly inclusive ethos. Great for designers, developers, business people, and really anyone interested in creating a just offe
Vinicius Lima
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Without inclusion at the heart of the AI age, we risk amplifying the cycle of exclusion on a massive scale. It won’t just be perpetuated by human beings. It will be accelerated by self-directed machines that are simply reproducing the intentions, biases, and preferences of their human creators.”

The author really walks us through how design is responsible for exclusion and creating mismatch situations. At the same time, it reflects on how design can be the solution to this very same problem. An
penny shima glanz
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a short book (the audio is 3h 47m; paper is 176 pp) and while semi-repetitive, it has a message that needs to be heard. My biggest takeaway is that we are all designers and for successful design we need to listen to a diversity of voices. Overall it provides a summary of what makes a design inclusive, what exclusionary traps many design teams fall into, and thoughts on how to improve the future.

I wrote a little more --
Brandon Biggs
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the best inclusive design book that has ever come out. The inclusive design world needs a textbook and until that is written, this is it. The only problem I had with the book was that it is too short. I really love the list of business justifications that she lays out, they will really help businesses connect inclusivity to their bottom line. Every one who is interested in inclusivity or innovation needs to read this book!
Alex Chan
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bought as part of prep for my Monki Gras 2019 talk.

It’s short, but covers a lot of material in its pages:
* How inclusion and exclusion work
* Practical ways for improving inclusion (not just “try harder”), and acknowledging that it’s a process, not a single event
* The idea of persona spectra is a particularly interesting one – that a disability might be permanent, temporary, or situational – as a way to frame designs to think more inclusively

I’ll be keeping it and revisiting it again.
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Great manifesto for inclusive design which goes beyond the digital realm. As usual, not a lot of practical advice for how to actually do this work on the ground, but plenty of food for thought which made it worth the read anyways. I think the author does a uniquely good job of demonstrating how inclusive design is not charity but a necessity, and swiftly dismantles any notion of 'a normal user'. ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 if I could. This book is a solid intro to inclusive design, but if you already know the basic concepts and you don't need to be sold to the idea, there's not all that much in this book that you'll find interesting. I wish this came out a few years ago, earlier in my career. I'll probably end up gifting this copy! ...more
Sean Reinhart
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What I’m reading this week: “Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design,” by Kat Holmes. I’m looking forward to diving in to this analysis of the many ways that design decisions can inadvertently exclude users from a design’s benefits if they are not included in the design process, and how inclusion can result in better design for all users. 😀📚
Alexandria Bruschi
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was fabulous! I love how it touches beyond design and digs into inclusion from a societal level. There are so many tidbits applicable to design and life. I listened to the audio book but will be buying this as well! Recommend for anyone interested in design who is curious about making accessibility a priority.
Stella Pangilinan
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
A nice introduction for junior designers looking to explore the general principles of inclusive design. Felt like this could be a Ted talk of Holmes demonstrating her main argument (which she does w lots of grace and detail) instead... as a downside, I can only say that I feel that the book lacked practical examples and applications of adopting inclusivity in design processes
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“Stronger constraints can push designers and engineers to innovate.” 0 likes
“An exclusion habit is the belief that whoever starts the game also sets the rules of the game. We think we don’t have power to change a game, so we abdicate our accountability. We keep repeating the same behaviors, over and over.” 0 likes
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