1. Web Design
  2. Prototyping

Quick Tip: How to Run a Guerrilla Testing Session

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Guerrilla testing is an informal type of user testing, often run during the initial stages of a project to help inform the designs going forward. These tests are spontaneous; they depend on when the designer can and wants to run them, and they normally occur out of the building in a café, canteen or on the street. The approach should be fairly simple and I always find it’s a worthwhile touch to buy your volunteer a coffee.

Begin by taking designs from a sketch workshop (see Web Designers: Roll up Your Sleeves and Sketch! for more information) and presenting them to your volunteer.

Step 1: Review the Designs

Review the prototype (or prototypes) and make note of what you want to learn that will help you go forward.

Step 2: Interview Guide

Put together an interview guide to conduct these sessions. Make sure you have some time at the beginning to inform the participants that they aren’t being tested, the designs are, and if they’re struggling it’s probably your fault (putting the blame on your side will hopefully have them more relaxed while going through the designs).

Step 3: Bring Someone With You

Ask someone in your team to join you so he or she can take notes while you conduct the interviews. It’s important that whoever is conducting the interview doesn’t lose track of what the participant is saying and doing.

Note takingNote takingNote taking
Note taking at a guerrilla testing session. Possibly.

Step 4: Look Out for a Potential User

Approach potential users, offer them a coffee and ask for five minutes of their time in return. It’s important to mention how long the interview might take to set their expectations. Also, as I mentioned above, don’t forget to tell them that if they’re struggling to understand what you are showing them, it’s surely because something is wrong with the designs.

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Illustration by Lucia Ferro

Step 5: Review and Analyse

Now it’s time to review all the feedback and organize the findings by themes. If, from these findings, there are some unique answers, you can put those in the backlog to revisit further down the road.

Step 6: Iterate!

Hopefully your guerrilla session was great and informative with regard to the next step. The best approach is to iterate and plan for new tests as soon as there’s something relevant to validate.


Guerrilla Testing is a form of testing sketches, designs and prototypes early on. Find volunteers, make it clear to them what you expect of them, get your feedback, then move on!

Interesting Further Reading

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