Guerilla Usability Testing7:17 with Anya Mezak
Guerilla Usability Testing is the art of approaching people in public spaces to conduct your study. This video talks about how to accomplish this.
Thank you to Bread & Honey Cafe in Portland, OR for the generous use of their space for this course.
What do consider when planning a guerilla study
- Target audience
- Discussion guide
- Recording method
Downsides of a a guerilla study
- Participants are random
- Feedback is less thorough
- Can be awkward
Guerilla testing can be especially useful in the context of a design sprint.
Learn about Google Design Sprints
What do you do when your project is on a very tight timeline and 0:00 just has no room for usability testing? 0:04 Do you skip testing, close your eyes, and 0:07 wait to receive feedback after the product has launched? 0:10 That wouldn't be such a great idea. 0:13 But luckily, you have another option, guerrilla usability testing. 0:16 Martin Belam, a season designer, once described this technique as 0:22 the art of pouncing on lone people in cafes and public spaces, and 0:27 quickly filming them whilst they use a website for a couple of minutes. 0:31 In practice, this means coming up to people politely, please don't pounce, 0:37 and asking them to participate in your study right then and there. 0:42 This saves significant time in recruiting, 0:47 although you will still need to do some light planning your end. 0:50 Now let's talk about just what that plan should include. 0:54 One, target audience. 0:57 Do the people you want using your product resemble those who are drinking coffee at 1:01 your local cafe? 1:04 If so, that's a great place to run your study. 1:06 If your target audience loves the outdoors, 1:09 consider visiting your local park. 1:12 In most cases, I recommend visiting a handful of different spaces to get some 1:14 diversity in your feedback. 1:18 If using a business, be sure to ask the staff for permission. 1:20 Two, prototype. 1:24 Because guerrilla testing is always in person, 1:26 you have advantage of choosing to test your idea at a very early stage. 1:29 Even with paper, although digital prototypes would be fine as well. 1:34 Three, discussion guide. 1:39 To reduce biases, make the most the most of your time, and 1:41 be sure every participant is getting a consistent set of questions. 1:44 Prepare what tasks you will be discussing with each person, 1:48 along with a set of questions. 1:51 Four, recording method. 1:54 You'll be talking with a lot of people, and it will be easy to forget things, 1:56 and let subjective memories creep in. 2:00 Choose a method for recording what you observe. 2:03 This can be screen recording software, or 2:05 a colleague sitting by writing meticulously. 2:08 If possible, try to avoid being the active note taker yourself, so 2:11 that you can be fully engaged in the study. 2:14 After you've planned your study, you are ready to go up to complete strangers and 2:18 ask them to help you with your designs. 2:21 Don't worry, it's not as scary as it sounds. 2:24 To help ease into it, watch how I kick things off for 2:27 a fictional study of a mobile shopping app. 2:31 >> Thanks so much. 2:33 >> Yeah sure. 2:35 >> Yeah I'm excited to try this place. 2:36 I've heard great things that are bread and honey. 2:38 >> Yeah, it's really good. 2:39 >> Looks like there's a table there. 2:41 Okay, I can set up right here. 2:48 I already have my prototype on the phone. 2:50 >> Okay. 2:51 >> And I'll take out the consent form. 2:53 And if you wanna maybe order us coffees, and 2:56 in the meantime I'll go see maybe if that gentleman over there is available. 2:58 >> Sure, no problem. >> Thanks. 3:02 Hi there. 3:09 >> Hello. 3:10 >> Hi, I'm so sorry to bother you but I wanted to know if you have 15 minutes 3:11 available to take a look at a mobile prototype that I have in my phone. 3:15 >> Sure, I have 15 minutes. 3:18 >> Awesome. 3:20 So, before we do that, just to make sure this make sense. 3:21 Could you tell me do you tend to shop online? 3:24 >> I probably shop online about once a week. 3:26 >> Okay. Perfect, 3:30 you sound like a great candidate for our study. 3:31 Maybe you can walk over and join my research partner here and me and 3:33 we can look at the prototype. 3:36 >> All right. 3:37 >> I put the order in. 3:41 Hey, I'm Frank. 3:42 >> I'm Brad. 3:43 >> Nice to meet you Brad. 3:44 Thanks for doing this. 3:46 >> Not a problem. 3:47 >> I'm gonna take notes on my laptop, if you don't mind. 3:49 >> That's fine. 3:51 >> Okay. 3:52 And we also have the release form here that if you don't mind signing. 3:53 This is just so 3:57 we can kinda record your voice and take notes and use those within the team. 3:58 >> All right. 4:02 >> Okay, perfect pizza lunch. 4:05 So, to get started I wanted to ask you some background questions about your 4:07 online shopping habits. 4:11 >> Sure, go ahead. 4:13 >> Okay, so what shopping sites do you tend to use? 4:14 >> Amazon, I just heard about PostMates, so I started using that. 4:18 >> You just saw the start of a guerrilla study. 4:23 Let's take a look again and identify some of the key strategies for 4:26 initiating such a study. 4:29 Look closely and you'll notice that we're dressed in Treehouse T-shirts. 4:32 Wearing a company's apparel when recruiting outside the office adds 4:35 credibility to your appearance. 4:39 My teammate and I find a place for equipment and 4:41 secure a spot from which we can run our study. 4:45 I then approach a potential participant, introduce myself, and ask for 4:48 their help while setting expectations for what they'll be reviewing and 4:51 the time commitment this would require. 4:55 Since I wanted to test the shopping app, I asked a qualifying background question 4:58 before even taking the participant to the testing space. 5:03 It is important to ask background questions that determine if this 5:06 random person fits with your target audience. 5:09 Once we sat down, I kicked things off with a question about the participants shopping 5:13 preference in order to learn more about them and 5:17 contextualize their behavior during the study. 5:20 Now, I need to be honest. 5:24 I should you the best possible outcomes of what happens 5:26 when you come up to strangers and ask for their time. 5:29 The reality is that it may take coming up to at least five people, 5:33 before someone actually agrees to participate. 5:36 but don't get discouraged, just keep trying. 5:39 At the end of the study, 5:42 you just got complete strangers to help you with your work. 5:44 Make sure to thank them appropriately by buying them a cup of coffee, 5:47 giving swag, or providing a gift card. 5:51 If this all looks fast and easier for you, that's great. 5:54 Take advantage of this method for 5:57 gathering early feedback in tight timelines. 5:59 A fresh pair of eyes and new designs is still much better than none at all. 6:02 However, be aware of the risks of the line and strategy a little to much. 6:07 After all, participants are random, approaching people in public settings 6:13 won't provide you with very representative sample and 6:18 you may not uncover issues that your actual audience would face. 6:21 Feedback is less thorough. 6:27 People will rarely have more than 20 minutes without having planned ahead. 6:29 So you will need to be fast and limit your follow up questions. 6:33 It can be awkward, testing in a public space can be awkward for 6:38 you and the participants. 6:43 As a result, feedback may be less truthful, simply because someone may be 6:45 more hesitant to speak their mind in an open setting. 6:50 Despite these drawbacks, 6:54 guerrilla usability testing is a fast way to get feedback on your ideas. 6:55 With just a little planning and a short trip to a nearby public space, 7:00 you could be walking away with valuable ideas on how to improve your work. 7:03 I've personally used this method during week-long Google design sprints, 7:08 when I've had just a day to talk to potential users 7:12 before heading back to create another design iteration. 7:14
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