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BIMA D-Day 2013: The challenges that await schools and agencies

The 2012 winning app Tooth Scanner

BIMA D-Day organiser Andrew Henning looks ahead to the challenges in store for this year's D-Day participants.

On 10 October we are running Digital Day for the 2nd time. We hope to have over 7,500 young people learning about our industry and the careers it offers. However we don’t just want to talk at them, we want them to do digital and this is achieved through the BIMA challenges.

In devising the challenges we needed to cater for different ages, IT facilities at individual schools and their ability to access to the web. We thought last year was good, but it has given us the experience to improve and make things better.

Each challenge consists of a brief to fairly open topic. We will supply these in the way of booklets that can be used by groups of students and contain lots of resources to help in the design process.

Last year we created separate booklets for each challenge, but the logistics of getting the correct booklets to each school was complicated. So for 2013 we’re creating one booklet per 20 students that will contain all the challenges and allows BIMA and teachers to be more flexible.

All the entries will be submitted back to BIMA and again we hope to make this an easier task than last year. Entries are then judged by our panel of digital professionals. The winners announced and certificates and prizes awarded.

So what will should you expect from the challenges?

The Digital Design and Mobile Design challenges were very successful last year. We’re going to retain them in a similar format although the briefs may alter slightly.

For those who didn’t do last year the Digital Design challenge was to design ‘something digital to benefit your community’. Most entries were about school; we received great ideas around job seeking, school dinners, getting to school and local clubs. The overall winner however was completely different - Yappy Dog from Dr Challoner’s Grammar School was a great social and mapping tool for dog walkers.

One observation last year was that many of the entries were designed for one device only. The key to the challenge is to think how it might differ across desktop, tablet, TV and mobile.

The other main consideration is that the judges are looking for great ideas accompanied with a good explanation and high-level overview. In 2012 we had a lot of entries that judges couldn’t work out initially what they did. Hand drawn or computer aided design was all good but the key is to sell your idea, identify the target market and provide clear explanation to how it works and the benefits.

The second challenge this year will be the Mobile Challenge. Last year we asked for students to design for the future. This was fun as it took away all the constraints of today’s technology.

The entries were again very imaginative and judges wanted again to see a great idea with good presentation. The winning app 'The Tooth Scanner' helped kids with brushing teeth and could even scan for plaque.

For both these challenges BIMA not only provided the brief but as previously mentioned booklets. These contained prompts, personas and printed templates of monitors, phones, iPads etc. to allow the students to produce some great presentations. In addition to printed assets, we also provide electronic versions as well.

Many students also had access to Balsamiq to allow them to create wireframes. This software through their educational licensing will be available again this year.

The next challenge we’re running this year is social media. The idea is to create a social campaign around something. Last year it was the opening of a cafe in the school. The challenge requires students to write blogs, create tweets and conceive a Facebook page. We were delighted with the quality of the entries last year.

The final challenge for 2013 will be coding. Schools are very keen to further ICT/coding and this proves popular. However we work very hard to make sure it isn’t just a computer lesson. Students can this year use their own in-house programs be it Scratch, Flash or Python etc. We also ask the teams to have prior knowledge as we don’t expect the digital professionals to be able to solve their coding errors!

The key for coding, like the other challenges, is all about the idea. Judges are looking for some thought around user interface design and user experience. Teams need to avoid clip art or default icons and really concentrate on creating a product.

Although not finalised we will set the brief to allow lots of ideas. For instance a program to ‘teach younger children their timetables’. This should allow a good mix of design, ideas and the coding itself.

So that’s the four main challenges for 2013. Students can work in groups of 4-6 will only do one challenge on the day. This works out well, with different groups generally doing different challenges within each school/college. They only have 3-4 hours but it is amazing what can get done.

Finally we’re be looking to run some quick win competitions that can be marked much quicker on the day. Our partners The Drum are sponsoring a video diary. It may be we ask each school to create a ‘Vine’ clip, six seconds of montage to highlight your D-Day. Winners will be announced and their clips broadcast at the DADI awards that night.

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