1. Hello, who are you and what are you known for?
Been consulting on game UX, design, product, and strategy for 20 years.
2. What initially attracted you to the industry, and how did you break into the games industry?
Got burned out in Grad School (social psychology and decision making). Made the lateral change a few years later, so didn’t enter the industry until the age of 30. Started at Microsoft Games User Research, which at the time was run by a bunch of folks like me (loved games, psychology, but burned out at grad school).
3. In this notoriously turbulent industry, what qualities do you feel helped you navigate your career path?
I think entering the industry when I was older made it easier for me to think outside the box. I also learned how to run my own research program which had valuable skills that transferred easily into game development. And over the past 10 years I’ve spent most of my time consulting which helps shield me from the “ship and studio shutdown” chaos that makes the industry a lot more stressful and less fun to be a part of.
Fortnite is another game Jason Schklar has offered his services with UX is Fine!
4. For those learning about our industry or interested in your role can you explain your job title, its function and what impact do you have in game titles?
First, I’m a co-founder of UX is Fine! We help game devs and publishers make their games more fun, better looking, and ultimately more successful through the lens of user experience with heavy product and game design focus. We work iteratively and cooperatively with our clients on both strategy and implementation. Building trust and healthy respect allows us to integrate well and get maximum ROI on our involvement.
5. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Talking to other games professionals. From budding “kids” looking to get into the industry to founders and CEOs of small and large companies.
And as I’ve gotten older I do more advising and mentorship focused on bringing amazingly talented underrepresented folks into the industry and sharing how UX as a lens can help them make better games even on smaller budgets.
6. Where do you work? Can you explain more about the studio, it’s culture, size, strengths and why you chose to work there?
Three of us co founded UX is Fine! with a few goals in mind:
Produce top quality work at the speed of game development
Be seen as not only the best in the industry, but also the most trustworthy and fun to work with
Always remote, always. We want people to live and work near where their families and friends are.
We are people first who lead busy and interesting lives. We want people to form tight-knit bonds and share without making them have to choose between work and life.
No crunch. Crunch is a failure of leadership failing to set proper expectations with clients. Full stop.
The Elder Scrolls Legends, one of the games UX is Fine! has helped develop the user’s experience.
7. How has COVID after your career, studio and what lasting changes both good and bad do you feel COVID has brought to the games industry?
We were always remote before COVID. For many folks, always remote meant “always on” but we resisted that culture and approach to work. So that didn’t change. What did change was that “bigger players” became more comfortable hiring remote consulting firms. This allowed us to grow our business. A lot.
8. What shall I be doing right now to improve my career prospects?
Keep building people up. In fact, do more of this. Be they contractors, FTE, clients, other game industry workers. Lifting folks up never has bad consequences, always feels good, and improves my profile within the industry and the bottom line of our company.
9. Is there a quote that motivates you?
Turn off your Slack… It’s outside of working hours.
10. Can you share your thoughts about the next 5 years outlook for games?
Continued growth? I’m not good at predicting the future other than to say: Conduct yourself ethically, build up others, and make yourself approachable and you’ll succeed.
11. What advice would you give your younger self when looking at the games industry?
None really. I could talk about it all day, but really it just takes time and a great supportive environment to get the most out of your career. Maybe I could have stepped back earlier and taken more of a leadership role when it comes to building company strategy and culture.