Guerrilla Usability Testing

Guerrilla Usability Testing is a type of usability testing intended for design teams with limited resources — limited time, money, or people. Guerrilla tests require little preparation beyond a low-fidelity representation of the product interface, a public place where participants can be recruited quickly, and a clear idea of what is being tested. Guerrilla tests are not useful for in-depth usability testing, but are invaluable for quickly testing a general layout or interactive element to verify usability prior to production. Because Guerrilla testing allows the most glaring UX errors to be identified and fixed, success can help with getting buy-in for future usability testing from stakeholders and clients who are apprehensive about the value of usability tests.


Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Time for Preparation of the Low-Fidelity Prototype: 1 – 2 Hours
  • Time for Testing: 1 – 2 Hours
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • Testable Prototype (paper, or laptop with clickable prototype loaded)
  • Compensation for participants (for example, low-value gift cards, $5 bills, etc.)
  • Recording device and/or notebook and pen

Carry Out This Method

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  1. Choose what needs to be tested. This might be the intuitiveness of a single interaction or affordance, a general layout, a short workflow or process, or the text clarity. This is not the best method for testing complex tasks, large blocks of text, layout or long task flows.
  2. Choose a public place – a public square, shopping mall, coffee shop, or conference – where many types of people gather. Offer people a small compensation, like a gift card to pay for their coffee or a $5 bill, to look at your interface prototype and share their thoughts.
  3. Direct your participant attention to the part of the prototype that needs testing and perform a brief think-aloud test. Ask them to perform a task and see where they click, ask their general impression and expectations for the results before the interaction.
  4. Record your observations and test as many people as possible. Depending on how busy the location and test duration, you can test between 10 and 100 people.
  5. Collect the results and share them with stakeholders and the product team.

Try These Tips

This testing method can be customized or adjusted as needed in order to accommodate the researcher’s budget and schedule. Change locations, compensation, or prototype as necessary, but be aware that times of day alone can introduce new user types. The more variables you introduce, the less reliable the data.

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