I hate guerilla testing… There I said it and inside you probably hate it too.
We’ve developed all sorts of strategies to cope and be better at it, I have a great white paper from Nielsen Norman Group about recruiting for participation studies that I would suggest anyone who does a decent amount of testing should read.
There was this saying I was told in a bid to help me find users for testing.
Go where the fishes swim
Go where the fishes get caught in the net
Find users in places they might be stuck. A favourite place of mine is St Pancreas Station in London. It’s the home of the EuroStar terminal to Paris and beyond. There you’ll find people waiting for their loved one’s arrival, with plenty of time to spare and most importantly they are starring at confusing arrivals boards.
I swoop in with, ‘which train are you waiting for, can I help you find it?’ People are usually pretty open about it and inadvertently they let me know if they have time for a chat. Not only that but I will earn a little credit with them because I’m well versed in helping people find their train.
Once the ice is cracked I lay it on them; the user testing I’m doing, how they can help while their waiting and I’ll even pay for coffee and lunch in the full cafe I have a table at. Oh yeah, that bit is the deal clincher, do they want to stand for 45 minutes waiting or sit down with a coffee.
Try it yourself. Think of places where people are forced to wait, where at some point in that period of waiting they are likely to have a need to solve a problem and be there to provide that solution in order to gain that foot in the door.