Guerilla Research Methods

Russ Unger, Todd Zaki Warfel

Traditional barriers to UX research: Time and Money; customer/stakeholder perceived value, and the attidude that “We don’t have time and money to do this.”

Argue, “We don’t have time and money to NOT do this…”  Spend a few hours doing some research, in order to allow you to make data driven design decisions

Each methods have strengths and weaknesses.  It’s good to combine multiple methods

The Burrito Lunch

  • Send out an email, if you fit a profile, come do this, and we’ll give you lunch
  • Chocolate snacks are a helpful way to get people to fill out surveys

Crowd Sourcing

  • Using social media, other tools to get people to give feedback.  E.G.  Twitter, Facebook
  • Coupled with web analytic data

Man on the Street

  • Simply just going out and asking people, note trends.

User Research: “You never ask the question you really want answered.  If you ask the question you want answered, you’ll miss all kinds of rich information.”

User Research…one of the benefits of the agile UX methods is that you can bring prototypes to user research sessions: gives you access to users, do validation of current design, and research for future sessions.

Designing the Box

  • Get people together, some Sharpies, paper, ask people to design the box the product, tool, service would come in.

If this was a COTS product, what are the key features that need to be front and center.  As a UX designer, gives you insight into the thought processes involved in prioritizing features, etc.

Guidelines for asking better research questions

  • Provide context: “Did you have coffee yesterday?  How much coffee did you have yesterday?  Was that a normal day?  How about the day before that?”  It’s our job as researchers to ask questions and identify trends, amounts, etc, rather than asking them directly?
  • Helpful to start with a most recent or most memorable experience.
  • Start broad and open ended
  • Funnel and narrow questions

People want to tell you about their lives.  If you can facilitate in a way that allows them to tell their own stories, people are willing to talk.  Another way to help people talk: “I’ll share a story about me, then you share a story about you.”


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