Focus groups
Last modified on Thu 14 Dec 2023

A qualitative and generative research method.

Rarely you might use it for evaluative purposes – the group dynamics might lead to biased, more extreme, or non-representative feedback to a product. Focus groups are a delicate dance of guiding people to riff of each other’s ideas without letting any single one of them take control of the group.

A focus group in UX research includes an active group discussion with a handful of product or service users. During this session, allow the participants to share their thoughts and opinions about a product or service.

In a focus group, a moderator (in most cases, you) leads the discussion and encourages participants to share their honest opinions, ideas, and suggestions. It's a brainstorming session where everyone gets a chance to speak up and bounce ideas off each other.

A focus group aims to gain insights into how people perceive and interact with a product or service. Participants may discuss their likes, dislikes, challenges, and desires related to the user experience. Participants can also share unique stories around their experience using a particular product, service, or component of them. It's a great way to explore different perspectives, uncover common themes, and understand the diverse needs and preferences of the target audience.

Focus groups are important because they provide qualitative data and rich insights beyond individual opinions. They help us, as well as designers, understand the collective voice of users, identify patterns, and discover potential areas for improvement.

It is important during a focus group to ensure that all participating members have time to voice their opinions and do not feel discouraged in doing so. Because of this, it is best practice that you source individuals who do not have a relationship with one another. Try your best to source strangers for activities like this.