UX Week: Guerrilla Research Methods and Mental Models

Guerilla Research

Led by Russ Unger, half of this half-day workshop on Day 2 was “lecture style”, and the other half was field work. I had gone into the workshop expecting to learn lot more “guerilla” methods, but came out realizing that many of the methods I have used or heard of before, including:

  • Unmoderated testing
  • A/B testing
  • Remote testing
  • User/browser role playing
  • Mobile testing

I cringed every time the faciliator let out the f-bomb (for emphasis, dramatic effect? I never know why people chose to use it in public presentations and speaking), but no one verbally protested so we all let it slide. The new methods I came across were:

  • Man on street/coffee shop: testing on the streets
  • Burrito lunch: food in exchange for testing
  • Rapid iterative protosketches (RIPS): 3, 2, then 1 design
  • Empathy maps: personas/game storming
  • Design the box: take a cereal box and arrange import information into each side – highlights priorities

We practiced the design studio method, putting together an 8-up, which is 6-8 ideas in 5 minutes – focused on quantity not quality. Then, we pitched and critiqued each others designs as pertinent to the (broad) requirements before merging into 1 design, which was improved upon in an iterative cycle when we validated it with others. Validation of the design was where the field work happened, and admittedly, it was a pretty fun and eye-opening exercise – especially after the dry-run session. Plus, beer was certainly a nice way to end the session, which also led to a few of us staying behind to chat.


Mental Models

Indi Young led this day-long workshop on Day 3, but by the end of the first half, it really had me thinking that I should’ve taken two half-day ones instead, like the “How to Work with a Product Manager” workshop by Kevin Cheng /twitter. Maybe it was because I expected it to be more around what “mental models” were and how to build them. Yes, admittedly, the “lecture” part of the workshop did cover techniques on how to combine and group (into mental spaces). But in the practical hands-on portion of the workshop, I found most of the focus was around interviewing (which yes, I admit is important but that could be a workshop on its own), card-sorting and design.

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