Guerrilla UX Research in 5 Minutes

Yes, we know UX research is awesome but your boss won’t give you any budget to prove just how awesome. In fact, management has been pondering over a UX budget for so long now that you’re pretty certain that they will clone a mammoth before you get some cash from the top. You’re so desperate to show the value of UX research but how can you if they won’t give you any money to do any? Sound familiar? It’s a Catch 22 that so many would-be UX professional encounter. So how do you overcome it?

Guerrilla Research is Cheap and Quick


Author/Copyright holder: Leonardo Parra Agudelo. Copyright terms and licence: All rights reserved Img source


In fact it’s so cheap it might as well be free. In this case, it’s going to be 100% free. Why? Because we’ve found that if you need to persuade those sitting on the fence to pony up some capital for your brand new UX show; that it is much, much easier when you can show the people with the money that your research has value. It’s part of the long, slow process of building a business case.

So How Does this Work?

You need to wait until there’s a moment of disagreement over something simple. When the designer doesn’t know whether red or blue will work best with the audience or when the developer wants to know if the shopping cart should be a scrolling form or split into separate pages.

Author/Copyright holder: Per Axbom. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-SA 2.0


Why? If you want to use UX research quickly (and thus cheaply) you want to answer a simple question. The more complexity you add to the problem – the longer the research will take. So take something meaningful but simple and post a question around it. Such as; “does this look better in red or blue?”

Then on your lunch break it’s time to go find some users. This should be easy; if you have a rough clue of your user demographics – you can find them easily enough (note: if the demographic is school children – you may be better off looking for parents than children, this will keep you out of trouble with the law too). Go somewhere that your users go.



Author/Copyright holder: Martha de Jong-Lantink. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Then stop people and ask them two questions. The first is to confirm whether they use your product/service or something similar. e.g. “Do you shop online for music?” Then ask the question that your research is supposed to be about. Rinse and repeat as many times as you can during your lunch break.

Then go back to the office and present your findings.

But That’s Too Simple!

Yes and no. It is too simple to justify a UX budget on its own. However, it does show that quick UX research can aid decision making, prevent costly mistakes (this is particularly true if you announce the audience’s preference for red prior to the whole blue version being developed) and be conducted in a very short time frame if necessary.

We all know that UX is becoming an established profession but as with all new ideas; the money has to come from somewhere to pay for it. Carrying out a first and dirty guerrilla UX research survey is the first step towards securing that money in your company.

Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Guerrilla Games. Copyright terms and licence: All rights reserved. Img Source

Make design better: share this article