Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Jodie Donovan, Freelance Game Designer and Women in Games Ambassador. Read more about Jodie in this interview:
Hi Jodie! Last year, you have successfully completed your Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing (Games & Digital Media) and you are now pursuing a master’s degree in Game Design. Which topics will you be focusing on in your thesis and what’s next after your studies?

I broke ground with my preliminary study into game accessibility during my BSc and I feel it’s time to take it to the next level. My study involved getting people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to play a game demo I created using Unreal Engine 4. I used player feedback to further understand how users with ASD interpret the signs and signaling used by developers to drive game flow and narrative, and if these users experience sensory distress. This enabled me to develop a proposed accessibility framework for users with cognitive disabilities. My master’s thesis will expand upon this research with the aim to improve user experience.

As a freelancer and consultant for Game Design matters, you got the opportunity to look into various different projects and workflows. Was there any outstanding project you’ve worked on, that you’d like to share with us?

I’m currently consulting on a mobile title and a PC game which is in early Alpha on Steam. My role in these projects is to assess features such as level design techniques and implementation, UI/UX elements, and give feedback to the developers on how accessible these games are to a neurodiverse audience.

Diversity and inclusivity in the industry, as well as the STEM sector specifically, are very important to you personally. Are there any books, articles, workshops or conferences that you’d recommend to anyone interested in becoming an active ambassador in these areas themselves?

I recommend the book “An Architectural Approach to Level Design” but more importantly, do some research into your local area/region and find out what it offers in terms of game developer communities and support networks. For me personally, I was able to join a local network specifically for female and gender diverse developers. It was founded by mutual friends and in becoming an active member here, I have met some of the most inspirational local women in tech, made new friends, and discovered subsequent programs that piqued my interest (e.g. Women In Games – of which I am now an active Ambassador).

Thank you for your time, Jodie!

Jodie’s Links: Jodie’s Twitter | Jodie’s LinkedIn

WWW Feature by Sophie Brügmann