Guerrilla UX Research

What is Guerrilla UX Research?

Guerrilla UX Research consists of developing user research methods, such as user testing, just that we slightly modify it in order to reduce time and cost. For example, if we perform a user interview, we might need to change the objective we are trying to achieve, the sample selection or the interview guide.

When should we carry out guerrilla UX Research?

The use of this method is appropriate if the scope of the research that we want to perform is defined and reduced. An example of this situation may be during the initial phases of a project, when executing concept testing with wireframes or mockups. Other possible situations may also be at the beginning of a project, when we need to make decisions about specific tasks that the user will need to solve.

How to carry out guerrilla UX Research?

Even if it is a much faster method, guerrilla research must also be planned. Just as we plan user testing we need to plan guerrilla UX Research, we just need to adapt to the method. So then the main steps will be the same as in regular user UX Research, but we need to implement them in a way that they can be taken care of faster and that take less economic costs. These are the steps to take:

  • Determine the participants. Even if during guerrilla research the users that participate are from a general audience, we can describe generally the features that we are looking for. For example, if we were designing an app for a coffee brand franchise, we want participants to be clients of that coffee shop.
  • Develop an interview guide. Once we have taken the previous steps we can arrange an interview guide that will allow us to portray what we need to find out.
  • Choose a spot. A key feature of guerrilla research is choosing a location where the sessions will take place. Also, if we choose a shop, for example, we may need to ask for permission.
  • About the participants. This point is also vital when carrying out this method. To avoid biases, we could maybe use the technique of approaching every fifth person we see. We should not approach people that seem too busy and we should be prepared for rejection from most of the people we approach. What is key when choosing participants is:
  1. Look for real users: Not UX Designers, not people directly involved in the project we are working on. Summing up: any other person, preferably part of our main target audience.
  1. We need to verify coherence of the expressed opinions and actions.
  2. We need to address why, not just the answer.
  3. We have to understand the reasons and delve into interesting elements, finding more about them by using probing questions.

Guerrilla UX Research methods

In order to carry out different guerrilla research methods a change of mentality may be needed: we need to move our attention from objective data sustained in numbers, tests, evidence, deductions and the understanding of natural methods of users, assumptions. Due to the commitment in terms of accuracy in collected data, these have the main objective of allowing the development of one of the most important qualities a UX Designer should have: empathy. (Take a look at our post regarding Soft skills you need for your UX career).

  • Guerrilla usability testing: Testing out during all the design process, finding out hypotheses just as they take shape so we can choose the best way to go without exploring every single idea or detail.
  • A/B testing.
  • Remote usability testing.
  • Unmoderated testing: There are many different tools to carry out these kinds of tests, from SurveyMoney to UserZoom, UserTesting and many more.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Torresburriel Estudio

Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance