Find a mentor

 

When looking for a mentor, it’s important to find someone who matches your interests and can help with your career goals. Below is a list of all of the people who have currently volunteered to be a mentor.

Due to the popularity of the scheme, we recommend selecting 4-5 potential mentors in case your first choice is too busy! After you have found mentors who match your goals, email the GUR-SIG Mentoring Team to ask for an introduction. Please include an introduction to your background and expectations from a mentoring relationship, and why you have chosen these mentors, which will help us match effectively. The GUR-SIG will then put you in touch with a mentor!

 

Andrea Abney
Senior User Researcher
Scopely
Los Angeles, CA
A Senior User Experience Researcher at Scopely in Los Angeles, I specialize in mobile game research. After 5 years in GUR and 7 years in UX overall, I have extensive experience with usability testing and lots of feels about proper survey methodology. I was previously at Disney Interactive, leading research on mobile Star Wars and Marvel titles. I’m open to mentoring anyone who is ready to jump into this fantastic and growing field. Let’s chat about research methods, best practices, and career development. Resumes are especially interesting to me. Everyone seems to have a bad one and it’s fun to improve them. We’ll make yours better before putting it in the hands of hiring managers. Bonus: If you’re my mentee, I’ll tell you the story of the time I made a grown woman cry in a playtest.
Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Mobile
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
James Berg
Games User Researcher
EA
Vancouver, Canada

I’m a Games User Researcher for Electronic Arts, in Vancouver, Canada, eh?

In my years here, I’ve led research on Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, FIFA, NHL, UFC, Battlefield: Hardline multiplayer, and a variety of other projects. My experience is primarily in qualitative research, with light descriptive stats, including both group research (up to 24 participants at once), small groups, and 1-on-1 sessions. I’m active in our SIG, helping plan/run the Summit for a few years.

With the bizarre mix of AAA titles I’ve worked on, there are not too many problems I haven’t found, fixed, or caused, so mentees can benefit from my eclectic knowledge base. I am happy to expound, at length, on pretty much anything – research methods, dealing with game teams, test planning, lab setup/maintenance, and whatever else you care to throw my way. If I can’t help, I almost certainly know some smarter people that can.

Also, I’m only marginally more serious than Jordan, and thus I hereby declare: You’ve Been Warned.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Console & PC games
Career & Personal Development
Steve Bromley
Senior User Researcher
Sony Computer Entertainment
London, UK

I've worked in Games User Research for nearly five years, focused on the development of games and hardware for home and mobile consoles.

I have extensive experience of moderating and analysing user tests, and am keen to provide mentoring on how to run and present research, and also to discuss career growth and development opportunities.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
Console Games
Virtual Reality
Career & Personal Development
Jonathan Dankoff
User Research Manager
WB Games Montreal
Montreal, Canada

I have been a user researcher for over a decade, first as a project manager at Ubisoft Montreal, focused mainly on the Assassin’s Creed series, and now as the research manager for WB Games Montreal.

Pick me if you want to discuss "good enough" user testing methods for actionable insights, the importance of mixed methods in GUR, embedded research models, developing a UR strategy with a dev team, scotch, narrative testing, or systemic games!

Also available on LinkedIn for any shorter questions or advice you may need without necessarily starting a mentoring relationship. Want to know why I constantly repeat the mantra that data has no value without context and analysis to create actionable insights? Let's chat!

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
AAA Console Development
Career & Personal Development
Johan Dorell
Associate User Experience Researcher
EA DICE
Stockholm, Sweden

I've worked with user research since 2012. I spent my first two and a half years in the field by heading the creation of a user research department at Paradox Interactive, and have since mid-2015 worked as a user researcher in the newly established department at EA DICE in Stockholm.

My main areas of expertise are: bootstrapping new user research environments; conducting pragmatic and resource efficient user research; and communicating the importance of user research and research results in the form of actionable advice to development teams. In the years prior to my work in user research, I studied game design (2007-2010) and worked with QA (2010-2012).

Talk to me about:
Getting started with user research
Playtesting on a budget
Career & Personal Development
Mark Friend
User Researcher
Sony Computer Entertainment
London, UK

I’ve worked as a games user researcher for PlayStation for nearly 3 years, and in the field of UX for 6 years. Since joining PlayStation I’ve worked on a great number of games, from AAA titles to smaller PSN only games, and on projects for the console UI and PlayStation VR.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Console games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
John Hopson
Senior Manager
Blizzard Entertainment
Irvine, California
I’ve been a games user researcher for 15 years, working with Microsoft Game Studios, Bungie, and Blizzard. Since moving from being an academic psychologist to the games industry, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a wide variety of titles ranging from big blockbusters like Halo, Destiny, World of Warcraft, and Age of Empires to small indie titles like Shadow Complex and Trials HD.
While I’ve used a wide variety of techniques ranging from individual interviews to playtest to multi-million player betas, my specialty is combining data science with traditional UX lab studies to produce results that neither method could accomplish alone.
Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
FPS & RTS Games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Kevin Keeker
Principal User Researcher
Sony Computer Entertainment America
San Francisco, USA

I’ve spent the last 20+ years in UX research and design at Microsoft, Zynga, freelance and PlayStation. In that time I’ve held every role from analyst to moderator to game designer, contractor to lead to group manager to consultant to principle researcher. Some of my favorite topics these days include questionnaire construction, narrative, telemetry, and the relationship between skill, knowledge, learning and enjoyment. Before UX, my academic background was in survey research, observational research, statistical analysis and Social Psychology.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Platform Specific Knowledge
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Moh Khan
Senior User Researcher
Sony Computer Entertainment
London, UK

Over six years my path has taken me from a freelancing student, via a UX consultancy, and eventually landed me here at Playstation. I’d be happy to explain the reasons behind my career choices, openly discuss approaches that might work for you, and share the little practical details for planning, running, and reporting games user research within our passionate industry.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Console games
Career & Personal Development
Audrey Laurent-André
User Research Project Manager
Ubisoft Montreal
Montreal, Canada

I started my career almost 5 years ago as a User Research Analyst, working on a various array of games from AAA to mobile games.

After 2 years as a Lead Researcher at Ubi Paris, I'm now an embedded User Researcher in production, providing the team with test planning, content to cover and UR-educated advising.

You can contact me to discuss research methods, gameplay testing related questions and how to present results to a production team.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Multiplayer Games
Open world games
Career & Personal Development
Julien Leforestier
Principal User Researcher
Sony Computer Entertainment
London, UK

I've been a Game User Researcher for more than 8 years and developed UX skills throughout my time spent at Ubisoft and Sony.

I have a broad range of experience on various projects such as AAA games and smaller titles with various audiences (kids and adults).

I also had the privilege to run some user tests on Sony hardware such as the DS4 and more recently Morpheus.

I would be happy to provide insights on how to run user tests and discuss methodologies.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Career & Personal Development
Ben Lile
Player Researcher
Amazon
Seattle, USA

After graduating from the University of Washington with a BA in Psychology I took a contract position as a moderator for Microsoft Game Studios in 2001. After 7 years of on again off a gain contracts I decided to dive in and took a job as a User Researcher at WB Games.

When I left there in 2013 for Amazon Game Studios I was managing a team of 5 UR's and Moderators. Amazon has been a unique challenge as it is the first time I've been part of developing a UR program from the ground up

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Platform specific knowledge
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Seb Long
Game User Researcher
Player Research
Brighton, UK

I’m a user researcher a Player Research, the award-winning playtesting and video games research company based in Brighton, UK. Since joining the industry with Player Research in January 2012, I’ve conducted research on over 100 titles across all genres and platforms, totalling well over half a billion players globally.

Mentor scheme applicants should contact me for a professional’s perspective on their usability or playability analyses conducted for personal portfolios; for insight into the role of external GamesUR consultants (not attached to a single studio); or to answer general questions about playtesting and user research consultancy in industry.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
Mobile & F2P
Jordan Lynn
Senior User Researcher
Scopely
Los Angeles, CA

Ragequit prevention specialist, budget sociologist, and baker of chocolate chip cookie bribes; I’ve worn many hats during my time as the primary User Researcher at Volition. Being embedded within a studio has given me many unique opportunities to work very closely with developers, while simultaneously posing entirely new and interesting challenges. I have extensive experience with qualitative methodologies and supplementing those methods with telemetry, all while operating under very strict budget limitations. My work is primarily focused on AAA open-world console development, with some experience in corridor shooters and MOBAs.

I’m interested in working with just about anyone, but academics are especially welcome; having escaped academia I hope to assist others in abandoning silly pursuits and getting to do REAL work (sorry Lennart!). Heavily involved with the GUR SIG, and frequent speaker at GDC. Way better than Lennart at everything except being Dutch.

Fair warning, I’m not the most serious User Researcher on this list.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
PC games
Console games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Steven Mathiesen
Head of User Experience
Travian Games GmbH
Germany

I have over 12 years of professional experience as a Games User Researcher and have worked for major publishers like Microsoft Studios and WB Games. I currently lead a UX group of researchers and designers at a German developer of popular free-to-play games.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Web, Mobile & F2P
Career & Personal Development
Pejman Mirza-babaei
User Research Director - Execution Labs
Assistant Professor - UOIT
Toronto, Canada

I am the User Research Director at Execution Labs and an Assistant Professor at University of Ontario. At Execution Labs I work with small to mid-size indie studios. My current interest is in developing methods to provide formative feedback to indie game developers during the game development cycle to optimize player experiences. I am interested in mentoring indie developers to do user research on their games.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Platform Specific Knowledge
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Lennart Nacke
Associate Professor
University of Waterloo
Canada

I’m an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, where I’m leading several Games User Research initiatives and working with the Games Institute.

I have worked with industry partners from the academic side and consulted on their data collection, experimental design, and research practices. I have been keen on GUR from the start of the IGDA GUR SIGH and have served on the steering committee of the SIG and organized several workshops and courses about Games User Research at ACM CHI conferences. I’m also in the painful process of co-editing a book on Games User Research.

I’m interested to teach people psychophysiological, survey, and eye tracking methods or just to chat about user research in general.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
FPS Games
Mobile Games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
YouTube
Daniel Natapov
User Research Manager
Ubisoft Toronto
Toronto, Canada

I’ve worked in Games User Research since 2010 in a few different capacities. Currently, I manage a small team of researchers at Ubisoft Toronto, which I built up over the past 3-4 years.

I’m interested in talking about methodology of all kind, working & communicating with production teams, training & processes, building labs & teams, and more.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Career & Personal Development
Harvey Owen
User Researcher
Player Research
Brighton, England

I am a user researcher at Player Research. This is my first job in the field following a psychology BSc and an applied cognitive psychology MSc.

I’m happy to chat about anything, but could have specific insights into getting hired in the industry, as well as my experiences so far.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Jean-Luc Potte
Games User Researcher
Ubisoft HQ
Montreuil, France

I ran my first user-test for a game company in 2012. Despite lacking a formal training in experimental psychology, I had the chance to conduct research both from within development teams and as part of a publisher's user research department.

I can provide mentoring on how to build long-term relationship with the developers and how to present test results.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Open world games
Non-linear games
Career & Personal Development
Cyril Rebetez
Principal User Researcher
Sony Computer Entertainment
London, UK

Five years ago, I had the opportunity to transition from academia and join Playstation. Since then, I was lucky enough to work on many titles and develop relationships with a variety of amazing teams. Beyond that, I had the chance to work on platform level projects and hardware prototypes including Playstation VR.

Contact me to chat about making research relevant and actionnable, having an impact in a large company, improving and adapting methods to a title or a team, user ratings, statistical analysis, moving to England, giving up on sorting your inbox or anything else you come up with.

Talk to me about:
Research methods
Console games
Virtual Reality
Career & Personal development
Sarah Romoslawski
Senior UX Researcher
Glu Mobile
San Francisco, CA

I have worked in the games industry since 2009. I have experience evaluating children’s interactive products, games for alternative platforms, and games user research in the free to play market. Working in past roles as a producer and game designer, I enjoy chatting about how games user research can impact the overall development process. I have experience building up research services on tiny budgets as well as in larger companies with more financial support.

Talk to me about:
F2P/Mobile Games
Research Methods
GUR on a minimum budget
Alternative Platforms
GUR with Children
Advocating for GUR in your company
Career and Personal Development
Jason Schklar
UX Advisor & Fun Finder
Jason Schklar Consults!
Austin, TX

Experienced product and studio leader. Shipped games across many devices, genres, and business models. Have worked at a variety of game publisher and development studios (Microsoft Games, Big Huge Games, Zynga, Disney Mobile). 

My “bat power” is improving games at the speed of development. I help teams prioritize UX goals, assess risks, and adjust schedule and development processes to better integrate rapid iterative UX feedback and direction.

These days I help teams "find the fun" and drive better UX into their games by mentoring individual contributors, guiding team leadership, and providing feedback and direction on products and processes.

Happy to chat about Publisher/Developer Relationships, Working Effectively with Development Teams, Mentoring UX Designers, and Life as a Consultant.

Talk to me about:
Career & Personal Development
Game Design
Game Production
David Sinclair
UX Design Lead
Ex-Bungie
Seattle, USA

I’ve been in and out of the games industry since my first job at a games retailer in 1992. I’ve spent the past 8 years focused on the design of digital products, systems, and interfaces with a strong emphasis on user experience. I was most recently at Bungie leading design on the Destiny Companion and Destiny’s in-game micro transaction systems. I’ve also worked on games and their supporting services at Crytek and Sony Online Entertainment.

I was fortunate enough to receive some amazing mentoring early in my career and I’d like to pay that forward by making myself available to this community.

My expertise are mainly in design and working with designers and engineers to improve UX. I can also offer advice around getting into the industry, review portfolios, and tell you who is currently hiring.

Talk to me about:
GUR Processes
Console, Mobile & Live Service Model
Career & Personal Development
Karl Steiner
Research Lead
Microsoft
London, UK

Longtime UX/UR practitioner and manager with experience in Games (as well as other industries). Happy to discuss GUR and UCD methods and processes (as well as other topics).

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Console, PC & F2P
Matt Streit
Senior User Researcher
Scopely
Los Angeles, CA

Coming out of graduate school, I had the pleasure of working with Microsoft Game Studio's User Research team and learning from the group that forged our industry. I have since lead the THQ user research team, taught at a master's program for game development, and I am currently managing a team of user researchers at Activision.

I am very interested, and willing to mentor people, in all areas of methodology, technology/tools, relationship and team building, and leadership.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Console games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Robert Tilford
Games User Researcher
Player Research
Brighton, UK

After my PhD in experimental psychology I got a job as a user experience consultant with a mainstream UX agency (non-games-specific). Now I'm a Games User Researcher at Player Research where I get involved in all aspects of our research portfolio, including but not limited to playtesting, expert reviews, concept testing, and persona development.

I'm particularly able to talk about the transition from academia to Games User Research.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Tech & Tools
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
David Tisserand
User Research Process Manager
Ubisoft Montreal
Montreal, Canada

I’ve got extensive experience with most methods dedicated to testing games usability and hardware ergonomics. For the last 5 years I’ve been responsible for improving processes of small teams up to international structures, ensuring the quality of research across researchers and deliverables as well as fostering continuous improvement and streamlining the testing process to better fit development constraints.

I’m heavily involved with the GUR SIG community since its creation and I’ve been mentoring students since the beginning of my career.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Career & Personal Development
Nicolaas VanMeerten
Games User Researcher
GLITCH
Minnesota, USA

Nicolaas VanMeerten is the Senior Programs Director and Co-Founder at GLITCH. He is also a third year Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Nic is a data scientist by trade and his research focuses on learning behaviors in complex multiplayer video game environments.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
Tech & Tools
Mobile and PC
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Contract Work
Nathan Varjavand
UX Designer
Turtle Rock Studios
Irvine, CA

I've been working in UX research & design for 5+ years, with a focus on how user research can improve designs for games. I've worked on a variety of games for mobile, console, and PC markets. After shifting my career from mainstream UX to games UX, I started at NetherRealm Studios and have since moved to Turtle Rock Studios where I handle most of the day-to-day UX research/design needs. My areas of expertise lie in creating high fidelity interactive prototypes fueled by user research and conducting cost effective research. I'm happy to talk about transitioning into the games industry as a UX'er, research methodologies, and any other questions that you might have.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
Console and Mobile games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia