Meet, Jacob Jensen
In essence, Jacob takes the design from the game designers and figures out how to best present it to the player and make it functional. There’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s what it boils down to. Designing the user experience is done in conjunction with designers, UI artists and programmers. It’s usually creating wireframes or prototypes of features, this allows artists and programmers to start work with a better idea of how the final product is meant to be, which means fewer surprises during actual development.
Jacob left school early to work in the very new web industry – the mid/late 90s. He worked as a Web Designer and later as a Web Developer, this was his profession for more than a decade before he crossed over into games. Not a path he would recommend to anyone these days, but it did give him a solid foundation in user experience.
Being Danish you can easily recognise Jacob by his Danish/American accent, his Danish roots can cause great confusion when it comes to settling on what time a meeting is. For example, half nine, in English means 30 minutes past the hour of nine, whereas, in Danish, it means 30 minutes until the hour of nine.
His advice for someone getting into UX Design in this industry is to play as many games as you can on the platform you want to work on. Pay special attention to the UI, since that is an area where bad UX really shines through. Figure out why certain ways of doing things work better for the user than others, and consider other cases where it wouldn’t. There’s a lot of UX resources for Web and Apps, online, a lot of the content spoken of will apply to game design as well. Last but not least, learn from others experiences and mistakes.
If like Jacob you have a great sense of order, he highly recommends Factorio, an indie PC title which is about building a factory and automating processes.