We were given a talk from UWE Business Studies Graduate Jemma Kamara about her career in digital media.
She realised that she loved to always be learning and this drive lead her to working with digital technologies. Jemma began her career at Aardman as a production assistant. During this time she ran projects, conduycted testing, assisted on large projects, and eventually made games.One thing that stood out to us as a group was how Jemma used games as a means to inspire and engage children. This is great for our project as we have been collaborating on ways to teach children about the environment and using a game interface to help children connect with nature seemed like a good fit.
Jemma told us about her work with creating accessible games for children with special needs which highlighted some important design aspects that we had not previously considered. Things such as using symbols that children can understand, and implementing settings that make the game easier to manage (like having images appear on the screen instead of moving so children without fine motor skills can follow along). These insights came from testing the games with children which she said was integral to creating a product that gave children with special needs the autonomy to play.
Automation and quick iteration
After working with Aardman Jemma moved onto Adaptive Labs where she worked as a product manager. During her time with Adaptive she took part in the 2 day sprint where she joined a team to quickly research and iterate solutions to a problem. Jemma shared some tips on rapid idea iteration:
- Prototype or die
- Test or be toast
- Automate or be annihilated
As well as the importance of choosing the correct prototype for the project, testing early and moving at speed to find solutions.
Taking Roald Dahl digital
Jemma then moved on to work for Penguin books where she was able to work with their top 20 brands such as Beano, Peppa Pig, Spot and Roald Dahl. Her main focus during this time was to work on creating a digital game for The Twits.
Jemma said this gave her the fantastic opportunity to work with Quentin Blake and retain the authentic art style for the new game.
All of her previous opportunities have given her a unique skill set that she attributes to being open to change and saying yes to new experiences. Jemma currently works Freelance in Bristol working on strategy, service design, digital consultancy and user experience. Her love of working with children is currently being satiated by her work with CXPartners (childrens Yoga) and Usborne (Teach your Monster to Read).
As a group we were lucky to have the chance to explain our project aims to Jemma, and have her give us some valuable advice. Some of the things we came away with were:
- Checking the Keystage 2/3/4 requirements for school children aged around 10
- Creating a game could be a good way to engage children
- Use animations to show night/day cycles
- Try to make bees friendly for children
- Look into TyrAnt by Preloaded – a game aimed at teaching children about ant colonies
- Let children be in charge of ‘taking care’ of the hive – to help improve empathy and caring
We were inspired by Jemma’s previous work, and advice, and so started to list our game ideas:
- Adopt a bee in a community hive – what you do in real life (plant flowers etc) can help your bee
- Bee hotels – create spaces for insects and wildlife to flourish and have positive impact measured in game