Design Ethnographer Kelly Goto Established Industry Standards for User Centered Design (UCD)
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- 2001 was a year that no one will forget, most definitely for founder and author Kelly Goto. The former Warner Bros. Producer and Art Director launched her digital design agency gotomedia in 2001 when the dot.com world was crashing down. Her new book, Web Redesign 2.0—also known globally as the 'Blue Bible'—was released that same year on 9/11. Despite the unthinkable timing, Web Redesign 2.0 became a primer for what we now know as the field of user experience (UX), was translated into 16 languages, and is still used as university curricula today.
Continually innovating, she launched her blog gotomobile where she set standards for mobile user experience when the US was still a laggard. At the time, Kelly's team was the US-based ethnographic research arm for the industry leader, Nokia, paving the way for the burgeoning handheld market. Kelly became an evangelist for design ethnography, an eponymous term for deep dive, contextual research. She was one of the first to apply both the term and its techniques to the Web.
"Corporate anthropology was utilized to better understand global culture and context for the growing field of technology," says Goto. "I was determined to take best practices from social science and apply it to the worlds of web and mobile. I called this 'design ethnography' and was trained early on by ethnographers in Finland to understand people's real needs through observation."
As she celebrates her company's 20th Anniversary, Kelly might have the recipe to innovation built into her Japanese American, business-minded DNA. gotomedia was an early adopter and advocate for human centered design, integrating UX research into the process every step of the way.
"We were lean and agile before it was a thing," Kelly explains. "Twenty years ago, I founded gotomedia with an ethos of trust and autonomy. I knew I did my best work with the right mix of purpose, support and independence, and hired people who felt the same."
Today's gotomedia works with an impressive roster of global healthcare and enterprise B2B clients and is focusing on inclusive design and accessibility. Kelly endeavors to reimagine aging and disability not as an obstacle, but as a path towards simpler, healthier living.
"We're all situationally disabled from time to time," remarks Goto. "Our goal is to create digital solutions that work for everyone, regardless of age or ability. By studying how people live in the context of their real lives, our team is understanding the nuances of their needs and designing experiences that don't just work, but empower."
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