Designer Martin Belam describes it as “the art of pouncing on lone people in cafes and public spaces, [then] quickly filming them whilst they use a website for a couple of minutes.” Whilst we’ll tone down the use of the word “pouncing”, Belam is trying to get across the rapid nature of this usability testing method. In effect, guerrilla usability testing is often prescribed as quick, cheap, moderated user testing using the think-aloud protocol i.e. asking questions to a sub-set (often random) users whilst moderating them using a website’s features.
My interpretation of this is that any users can use the website and it is simply natural user testing. As a UX consultant, I use this method day-in, day-out and sub-consciously guerrilla test websites both subjectively and objectively.
The best form of guerrilla usability testing for me is using my mum. Despite not being part of the online generation, she will identify glaring usability issues within websites and come across pitfalls that the more web savvy of us will have noticed – she is always part of my core usability research strategy.
Usually there are anywhere up to 12 participants that are recruited, although not formally. They are given specific test plans based on the site objectives or research hypotheses. In the instance of the client below I provided 6 participants different user scenarios based on key research objectives of buying different categories of products – which each demanding a different user journey.
Often I tie these useful sessions, mum included, with an end-use interview on what they thought of the site’s functionality and user journey.
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If you’d like to learn more about a structured UX approach I’m more than happy to discuss this with you and your requirements. I’m certain with my track record in using this approach I can facilitate in a proven methodology that will get the best out of your team and the most efficient user-centric solution for your client.