Kelly Goto

As an evangelist for design ethnography, Kelly is dedicated to understanding how real people integrate products and services into their daily lives. Kelly is principal of both gotomedia and gotoresearch — utilizing a blend of ux research and design to simplify complex experiences from traditional apps to the latest in AI and conversational interfaces. Over the last two decades she has focused her research and design towards this goal; working with clients such as Netflix, Citrix, Hyundai, Target, Sony, VMware, The Mayo Clinic and Livongo to meet the real needs of real people.

Her style and passion make her a popular keynote speaker, instructor and consultant in the UX, service design and CX communities. Her book, Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow That Works, remains a standard for user-centered design principles, is used in corporations and university curricula in 24 languages worldwide.

Now a 'sandwich mom' living in Seattle with her mom, her two daughters and a new Bernedoodle puppy — Kelly maintains a balance between keynotes and coffee, devices and disconnecting. Her latest mission? Helping companies and organizations to harness the power of universal design and adaptive experiences to improve health outcomes and help people, regardless of age or ability. 

Conference Appearances

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Recent Presentation Topics

April 23, 2019

Expert Speaker Series

Cisco Global

Rapid UX Innovation Cycles for Next Generation Products

Companies want a rigorous and rapid process of taking insights into strategic action—transforming experiences and
meeting the real needs of people.

Learn how rigorous research and rapid Innovation cycles work to clarify business
strategy and can also help pivot along the way. Learn how Rapid UX Research is enabling business and product
transformation in weeks instead of months in rapid and rigorous ways.

Join user experience veteran Kelly Goto as she takes you through a streamlined innovation process designed to transform your business. It is a missing link between customer need and corporate innovation. Companies need to design for the future by building adaptive experiences today.

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November 15, 2016

Aging 2.0 Webinar

“With, Not For” Designing Innovations in Aging through Empathy Mapping and Inclusive Design Teams

This webinar explores how to design innovations in aging through empathy mapping and inclusive design teams. You’ll learn how to develop a design framework and process that innovates with, not for older adults to result in products and services that are more likely to optimize quality of life.

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Breakout Session
October 14, 2016

Aging 2.0 Optimize Conference

Innovations in Empathy & Compassion

Empathy and Compassion are essential skills in designing innovations and programs of care for older adults. Experience Strategist Kelly Goto takes you through a rapid, iterative approach utilizing mobile ethnography to envision and enhance today's products and services to function in a increasingly distracted, situationally disabled world. She discusses empathy mapping and how deep dive, personalized research across time capture needs and behaviors not possible through other methods.

Opening Keynote
Seattle, WA

June 1, 2016


Beyond Usability: Adaptive and Assistive Technology

After nearly 3-decades, veteran design ethnographer Kelly Goto has a sweeping story to tell—a passionate personal journey of engaging with real people and getting to WHY. Come along for the ride and learn how a fishbowl and a missed flight to London allowed her to refocus and envision a new research direction that is poised to shift the UX industry beyond usability forever.

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Virtual Seminar
January 21, 2016

Rapid UX Research Cycles

This virtual seminar highlights the rigorous approach and process gotoresearch applies to Rapid UX Research Cycles to allow insights and mental models to emerge in 6-8 week timeframes. Getting to the why is where the rubber meets the road and is the aim of Rapid UX Research Cycles. Join Kelly Goto to learn when to use them, why to use them, and how Rapid UX Research Cycles can help teams already moving in a lean or agile format get the information they need to pivot quickly.

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2017 Speaking Appearances


Dec 7, 2017

Los Angeles, CA

Session Title: Getting to the Why Using Rapid UX Research Cycles

May 9 - 11, 2017
Orlando, FL
Session Title: Rapid UX Innovation Cycles for Next Generation Products

2015-2016 Speaking Appearances

October 12-14, 2016
San Francisco, CA
Session Title: Innovations in Empathy & Compassion
Aging 2.0

June 14-16, 2016
San Francisco, CA
Preso Title: Rapid UX Research Cycles to Understand the Smart Customer

June 1- 3, 2016
Seattle, WA
Keynote Title: Beyond Usability: Adaptive and Assistive Technology

UXPA Opening Keynote

March 31-April 1, 2016
Oxford, UK
Keynote Title: Beyond Usable: Mapping Emotion to Experience

March 3-4, 2016
Product Intelligence & UX Preso: Beyond Usable: Mapping Emotion to Experience

June 11-12, 2015
Presentation Title: Safe Words and Censorship


June 5-6, 2015
Presentation Title: The Power of Insight Reviews
MRA ISC Insights and Strategies Conference

May 12-13, 2015
Presentation Title: Emotion Economy: Ethnography as Corporate Strategy

See Kelly On Stage

Android Open 2011
Kelly Goto discusses Devolution and Ritual at the 2011 Android Open conference in San Francisco.

Mind the Product 2013
Kelly Goto discusses the concept of Yoyu at the 2013 Mind the Product conference in London.

UXLX 2013
Kelly Goto from gotoresearch discusses Contextual Research at the 2013 UXLX User Experience conference in Lisbon.

Live Tweets From Events

Kelly talks about the importance of Universal Design and sets the mood for the #UXPA2016 event. We do meaningful work for people. @go2girl by Jose Gutierrez

People don't advance as quickly as technology. @go2girl #uxpa2016 #UX by A Robillard Bastien

Love that @go2girl is involving the audience so much in her #uxinthecity keynote. Lots of sharing. by UXitC: Oxford

I love it when people make new connections in my brain. @go2girl did on "mobile ethnography" at #androidopen by Alex Howard

I love this presentation and every product manager should click through it at least once. (by @go2girl) #prodmgmt by Rachelle Palmer

If you are not meeting with your audience, you need to. It's an essential part of product strategy. @go2girl #conveyux #designresearch by IITInstituteofDesign


Contact Information

Kelly Goto lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
Please contact us to book Kelly for your next event.