Guerrilla User and Design Research


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Presented at the Edge of the Web 2009 conference in Perth, Western Australia

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Guerrilla User and Design Research

  1. 1. Guerrilla user & design research: undertaking research on a shoestring By Ruth Ellison Twitter @RuthEllison Edge of the Web 2009 conference
  2. 2. Does this sound familiar? Dilbert by Scott Adams
  3. 3. Work at Stamford Interactive Live in Canberra Chocolate appreciator Work mostly with Federal Government Loves gadgets I’m Ruth Information architect ‚I help make User experience designer things easier to use‛ Loves robots
  4. 4. What is user & design research
  5. 5. Build a deeper understanding of the problem space* in order to inform your design process * people, their activities, context of use, technical constraints, business needs etc
  6. 6. Guerrilla research is... Doing research with less money and time! And sometimes under the radar...
  7. 7. Formal research More time & money Much greater depth of results Guerrilla research Less depth of results Faster & cheaper
  8. 8. Where does research fit in? Analyse Strategy Research Design Build Test
  9. 9. Why we don’t do research
  10. 10. Don‘t have It’s just too enough money hard Don’t have Don‘t have access to the time the users We already know what We are the the users users want Barriers to research
  11. 11. Why we should do research
  12. 12. 1 in 3 IT projects fail to meet user expectations (worldwide) searchreveals.aspx
  13. 13. Human error causes most software project failures due to: Unclear requirements Overly optimistic and/or unrealistic schedules Lack of user input Lack of executive sponsorship and support Turnover and layoffs “Software Quality Insights”, published January 2009, projects-fail-and-more-will-fail-in-2009/
  14. 14. Culture, not features, drives adoption Anil Dash
  15. 15. Inform the design Design build on research rather than opinions Lower possibility of building something that you have to change again
  16. 16. How we do it
  17. 17. Large number of techniques Website analytics Focus groups Surrogates The coffee Surveys meeting Interviews A/B testing Expert/heuristic reviews Design Ethnographic studies concept wall Contextual enquiries Guerrilla usability Usability testing Usability walkthroughs testing Formal Guerrilla techniques techniques
  18. 18. The projects
  19. 19. Project 1 website redesign Limited budget & time Experienced web team Project 2 web app redesign Limited budget & time Limited access to overseas users Wanted recommendations for improving UI Project 3 intranet redesign Limited budget & time Limited access to some users
  20. 20. The techniques Design concept wall Interviews Surrogates The lunch room chat The coffee meeting Guerrilla usability testing
  21. 21.
  22. 22. Design concept wall
  23. 23. It is... A method of getting feedback from users & stakeholders Designs placed on wall Helps to socialise the designs
  24. 24. Use when... Want input from a greater amount of people with a minimal budget Input from users and stakeholders
  25. 25. A wall Sharpies Post it notes Design concepts on A3 paper Instructions to passersby
  26. 26. Highly visible wall Get permission to put up on wall Leave contact details Map flow between screens Allow for anonymous feedback
  27. 27. Things to watch out for Doesn’t work in all environments People may not participate Depends on organisational culture
  28. 28. Focus groups
  29. 29. Use when... Limited time with people Limited access to people Instead of focus groups
  30. 30. 6-8 participants 45 minute one-on-one interviews Script & questions Incentives* Recording device maybe * Money, coffee or chocolates work well
  31. 31. Define clear research questions Start wide then narrow Listen! Open-ended questions People don’t always say what they mean
  32. 32. Things to watch out for Underlying political agendas Leading the interviewee
  33. 33. Surrogates Also known as intermediaries, proxies, key informants
  34. 34. It is... Using people to talk to them about the target audience
  35. 35. Use when... No direct access to end user Commercial-in-confidence content or security concerns Should not replace research with actual target audience
  36. 36. Things to watch out for Another layer of bias Second hand information
  37. 37. The lunch room chat
  38. 38. Learn about organisation Build relationships ‘Smokers talk’ conversations
  39. 39. The coffee meeting
  40. 40. The coffee meeting Informal meeting over a hot beverage of choice Need input from stakeholders Highly politically charged situations
  41. 41. Guerrilla usability testing Similar technique is cafe testing
  42. 42. It is... Usability testing on the cheap Method of finding out what works and doesn’t works Involves real people No formal lab
  43. 43. Source: Brighton Uni Usability Lab,
  44. 44. Prototypes low-fidelity 4-5 participants 10-60 minutes, one- on-one sessions Incentives Tasks/scenarios Recording equipment
  45. 45. A step by step guide Plan Recruit participants Conduct usability testing Debrief & decide with project team
  46. 46. Test when and where you can Listen & observe Any users are better than none Use people who reflect target group but don’t get hang up over it
  47. 47. To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not [just] what they say. Self reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behaviour Jakob Nielsen
  48. 48. But wait...there’s more! Mwhawhahah There truly isn’t any excuse to avoid doing research now!
  49. 49. Trade shows, conferences Airplane neighbours Reception areas
  50. 50. Bookmarks & favourites, browser history User forums & wikis Website logs
  51. 51. Useful tools
  52. 52. Making sense of the research
  53. 53. "If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.“ - Henry Ford
  54. 54. Share the research
  55. 55. Scenarios or user stories Personas Presentations Interesting visualisations experiences/
  56. 56.
  57. 57. Some research is better than none Clearly understand why you’re doing the research Use a combination of techniques Small wins Grab opportunities to research!
  58. 58. Further reading Mike Kuniavsky’s Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research Intermediaries in user research, Can’t You Just Ask People?,’t-you-just-ask-people/ Bite-Sized UX Research, Affinity Diagrams, User Research for Personas and Other Audience Models,
  59. 59. Ruth Ellison Email: Web: @RuthEllison Find this presentation at
  60. 60. Photo credits selective color on a shoestring by theilr from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license Canton trade fair by tarotasticfrom Available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license Horse power by Zadok Ben-David (2003) by marie-ll from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license easyJet A321 Cabin by WebDub from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 GenericYoono by Glenn Batuyong from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license If you were choosing the default bookmarks for a browser, what would you choose? -- Current day safari default bookmarks by Amit Gupta from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic license Kent and austin in the inter@ctivate reception area – DSC00061 by sean dreilinger from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
  61. 61. Photo credits Cafeteria at work by CaptQuirk from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic license Affinity diagrams by jderuna from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license Twitter icon from Hattori Hanzou by Hattori Hanzou 72057594068446573/ Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license bookshelf spectrum, revisited by chotda from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic licence Thank You! by vernhart from Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license