How to Guerilla Test Your Website

If you don't test, you guess. Simple.

To test your website is the only way how can you tell for sure if something works or not. Even if you aren’t completely sure the good test may give you evidence-based hints about the direction to take. 

So if you’re an content creator you want to test. 

But maybe you don’t have

No problem, I will show you the way. The guerilla way.

test your website

“Testing” may sound really scientific, complicated, and expensive.

The opposite is true.

Ask yourself: 

What’s the purpose of the test?

The purpose of the test of your website is to see how REAL PEOPLE interact with your website – whether it works as expected.

The purpose of the test is to find out if your hypothesis about user behavior makes sense.

That’s it.

To test your website you need three things:

Really, don’t start testing if you don’t know:

  • Who’s the target customer for the website
  • What’s the main goal of the website (get an email? / purchase? / sending out some form?)
  • Has a rough (and even a bad) idea about how the customer “journey” should look like
Take some time and write all of those things down. Take your time for this part. It’s crucial.

If you have money at this point just jump to usertesting.com and learn how to use the platform effectively.

Also working as an tester yourself may be a nice way how to find out how the testing process works.

If you don’t/or you want to try something different keep reading.

So, how to GUERRILLA TEST your website?

test your website

Approach them, introduce yourself as a starting out web designer and offer them a coffee if they will spend with you 10 minutes testing your website.

If they say “yes” just give them your tablet/notebook/smartphone and ask them to perform the pre-defined tasks. I will speak about this in a second. 

That’s it, that’s the magic.

Note. Be prepared that the refuse rate may be rather high.

You will get better with repetition in it.

And if you aren’t successful (even then) focus on the subtle details:

  • NOT “testing” BUT “giving an opinion”
  • NOT “web designer” BUT “local web designer living nearby”
  • NOT “10 mins” BUT “15 mins or 10 if you’re in hurry” etc…
It may sound little scary but it’s not. 

If you try it for 3x the other 300x repetition will be much easier.

How to perform the actual test?

You gave the gadget to the person. Now: What kind of tasks may you need the person to perform?

  • See the gallery with previous designs
  • Try to sign up for the newsletter
  • Try to “pre-order” sth

Ask the person to comment loudly on the process. You want to see the thought process – step by step. 

Once the test start don’t just listen to the person but mos importantly watch her/him

  • How does he/she use the navigation bar?
  • Is there confusion?
  • How long does it take?
  • If there are problems with performing the action, the why?

Look very closely. Don’t interrupt him/her but write all potential questions down and ask them later.

With a bigger project, you will probably have a list of tasks you will want your “tester” to perform.

Then at the end don’t be afraid to add a couple of questions about things you’re not sure about/need to know.

Ask open questions and make sure they aren’t suggestive.

Important note:

Opinions are good but you want to see the real behavior and action the people take.

That’s why you’re testing it in the first place.

So value the types of information accordingly.

A person:

Clicking around for 10 min trying to find sth > Hating the visual

That’s the kind of mindset you need to have.

To sum it up:

PS. Mind different devices and don’t be afraid to test for multiple ones.

Have you ever tried to test your website?

Let me know in comments

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