A focus group is an interview with a small group of people who share key characteristics in relation to a specific topic but who do not know each other. They can be run in person, online, or over the phone.

What is a focus group and why might you consider one to enhance the design of your online product?

Focus groups are most valuable for design teams who want to better understand the perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes of a target market. They can help you:

brainstorm for solutions to a design or market challenge
understand where your product fits relative to the competition
learn more about why customers buy your product
explore emerging trends and gather feedback to new product concepts

How can a skilled moderator help you achieve your objectives?

Having the right moderator is crucial to a productive focus group. The skilled moderator creates a relaxed atmosphere in which participants share their opinions, reactions, and perspective about your product. They have an instinct about the group’s energy and direction and know how to draw accurate and complete meaning from each remark. They create a respectful, safe, and open place for participants to speak their minds. They keep things moving and make sure everyone participates, dealing productively with “dominators” and “cynics” in the group to maximize the session’s productivity. They also know how to take advantage of serendipitous conversation to help you meet your research goals. Good moderators know how to ask the right questions and activities to maintain group energy and encourage deeper thinking.

What is involved in running a focus group?

Successful focus groups are a result of careful planning and attention to detail, and I can handle all aspects of the setup. Generally I recommend 4-6 groups with one type of user often across different geographies. Once I decide with you that focus groups are the best way to meet your research objectives, I’ll work with you to identify user groups, manage the recruitment and facilities, and create the discussion guide. I also capture all sessions on audio, video, and transcription so that nothing is left to memory.

What will you receive when the focus groups are complete?

It really depends on what you want. Some clients want a detailed report, others just value the opportunity to observe their target users discuss their topics. I debrief with you to gather your “A-ha’s” and to learn the insights from these sessions of most value. Our reports are structured to communicate key findings as Ill as the implications and recommendations that follow from the new insights.

Why should you choose Usability Resources to facilitate my focus group?

Skilled facilitation is the key to ensuring productive focus groups. In addition to my extensive background in IT and usability testing, I have many years of experience working with groups. I am a RIVA-certified Master Moderator and an MSW in Group Work and Community Organizing from Boston University. My experience and training in focus groups ensure that you’ll receive the maximum benefit from this powerful tool.