Guerilla testing (also called hallway usability testing) is an informal UX research method conducted in public spaces where participants are recruited shortly beforehand. It aims to collect user feedback quickly.
Guerilla testing is an inexpensive research method as it doesn't require a lot of planning or equipment. It also provides instant feedback since it can be done ad-hoc. While it may seem rushed and informal, it actually enables testing a digital product in a real-world setting, making the collected information more accurate than the one gathered in laboratory testing. Another advantage of guerilla testing is the diverse participants, as people are recruited from coffee shops or malls.
Finally, unlike the other formal user research methods, guerilla testing can give valuable insights into users' spontaneous reactions while interacting with the product. Thanks to the real-world setting, the researchers have a chance to observe the users as they would interact with the product in real life.
Guerilla testing may be informal, but there are still some rules you should follow to get the best results. Firstly – keep it simple. Since participant recruitment is done quickly and testing happens in a public space, it is vital to reduce confusion or bias. Another thing to remember is to get a diverse sample. While it will naturally be more diverse, try to conduct guerilla testing in various locations. And remain flexible – guerilla testing requires openness to changes and the ability to adjust the testing process quickly.
When it comes to don'ts, don't rely solely on guerilla testing; in UX research, it's best to combine a few methods to get an accurate picture and broader feedback. You should also remember that guerilla testing has its limitations. Don't ignore them when interpreting your results, as it may lead to unnecessary mistakes. It is also crucial to never forget to get permission from all the relevant parties (e.g. property owners or store managers) before conducting any testing in public spaces.
Guerilla testing is a valuable method that provides you with real insights into product-user interaction in a real-world setting. When considering different user research methods, it's worth adding it to the list to look at user experience in the real environment and see how it compares to the laboratory results.