Guerrilla interviews: User Research on a budget
In a startup like Konnektid there is no alternative to extreme prioritization. With hundreds of features and improvements on the wish list, deciding for the one that’s going to be next has to be done wisely. It requires knowledge about what matters to users. But large-scale user research does not only take resources, it can also be a rather long and cumbersome process, and while you’re recruiting interview participants and scheduling sessions, your most urgent questions might have changed in the meantime.
So, what’s the alternative? There are many ways to do quick research. What we do a lot at Konnektid are Guerrilla interviews. That means: Going to a public place where our target audience is likely to hang out and spontaneously approach them with some questions.
Here are our insights on how to face some of the challenges of Guerrilla interviews.
- Define what you want to know from your participants. Then think of questions that can get you closer to that information. If it’s your first time and you find it hard to come up with the right questions, check out Sarah Doody’s starter questions.
- Divide your interview into manageable parts. If a person doesn’t want to spend 15 minutes of their time, you can still make sure to have a plan B up your sleeve that allows you to use their five minutes effectively.
- Prototype: If (and only if) you are already in a decision phase, prototype your ideas. The more naturally people can view and interact with your prototype, the easier it gets for them to immerse themselves in a real scenario. Also it frees you from constantly explaining things.
- Take with you: A phone to record the interviews, a writing pad (because not everyone likes to be voice recorded), your prototype and the device you need to show it. Also, you might want internet access so your participants can browse and show you things.
- Give a solid introduction. Keep in mind that this is an unusual setting: Being asked specific questions about your habits and opinions while you actually just wanted to take a coffee? Take some time to explain who you are and what’s going to happen next.
- Build bridges to your participant’s daily life. If someone doesn’t know what they “would do” or “would think” about a thing, ask them to remember a similar experience and describe it. They may come up with something that’s relevant to you!
- Take some time to contemplate. Use the little breaks between interviews to consider how you can improve your strategy. Which questions brought you valuable insights, which ones failed? Iterate your interviews the same way you iterate your product!