Guerrilla User Research


The purpose of conducting user research is to understand the needs and goals of your target audience, creating meaningful experiences and increasing value proposition of the product.

There are many techniques for understanding users’ perceptions including card-sorting, contextual inquiries, focus groups, and surveys.

User research usually involves ethnographic research, resonance testing, experience mapping and usability testing. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to know the difference so that we use the kind of research is best for the product and process.

Traditional UX Research focuses on whether your products work by discovering how people interface with the current system, whether the proposed system resonates and/or how they use the future product in real time. Data points tested in these types of methods study include the following:

  • Does the user perform the required tasks?
  • How many units of effort does it take for users to perform them?
  • How long does it take for the user to figure out your product?

The answers to these kinds of questions can validate whether your product’s calls to action are positioned correctly, whether the user can find important information, or if the nomenclature is clear.

This type of user research takes some hardcore scheduling and budget. And in many cases, we just don’t have that-  So, what do you do? The answer is guerrilla user research. It’s cost-effective and the mobile tactics help to validate the following quickly:

  • Are we targeting the correct customer segment?
  • Are we solving a common pain point?
  • Is the proposed solution (demonstrated in the prototype of key experiences) something they would seriously consider using?
  • Would they pay for the product, and, if not, what are the other potential revenue models?
  • Does the business model work?

On projects with big budgets I still perform guerrilla-style research. That’s because doing this form of “lean” research is not just about saving money, it’s about saving valuable time. Guerrilla user research assures me that the team will deliver immediate, useful, and pointed knowledge.