guerrilla research

The concept of guerrilla research is to efficiently obtain useful insights without having to recruit a certain demographic, or be an user research expert. It is ideal for teams who want to test ideas early and often, allowing them to move on with a project as quickly as possible.

If you are willing to run a session by yourself, ideally you're someone who can think on the spot with questions that might come up. You'll need a prototype, tested with a colleague beforehand, as well as software to record the screen and audio (Silverback is great for this).

An environment where it’s acceptable to approach people and an offer of free coffee and snacks should be a good incentive for the participants.

Set aside about 2-3 hours and gather feedback from 4–6 people.

A session should be short enough to not bore the participant, but long enough to gather enough information. Somewhere up to around 15-20 minutes is great.

Here’s the structure of an ideal session:

  • Approach an individual and ask if they have some time to help you with something.

  • Introduce yourself and provide credentials to make the person feel comfortable.

  • Once they’ve accepted, show them your laptop and set the stage.

  • Tell them you’re looking for some design feedback and that they aren’t being tested for their computer skills.

  • Ask for permission to record the screen and audio, reassuring them that it won’t record their face.

  • Walk through the prototype, asking them to perform the tasks you’ve already tested with a colleague.

  • At any time that you need more information, be sure to ask for clarification or dig deeper.

  • Once completed, thank them for their time and — if available — provide them with the incentive.

Once all tests are finished you should go back through the recordings and note down any key takeaways and your interpretations of the feedback.

When properly implemented, guerrilla research is an effective tactic for understanding how users interact with your product. It becomes an essential practice for any team regardless of budgets or timelines.