Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Focus Groups

If you study UX you will hear about focus groups and how they are not part of the UX tool kit. And there is a good reason for this; in UX I am more interested in what someone is doing than in what they say.

So when I test websites or interview people it is one-to-one, so I can focus on exactly what they are doing and get a real understanding of any issues they might be having.

But focus groups do have their place, and I was quite excited to be invited to attend one from a brand that I love.

It was really interesting to hear what everyone had to say, and I think everyone was very respectful of each other, happily listening to each other’s stories. Nothing like the horror stories I had heard, where one person dominates the group and throws the results out.

And it was so nice to listen to people with similar interests to me, talking about similar issues and ideas as me. For a couple of hours I was sitting with people with a similar mind set as me and it was nice.

And I now understand how a focus group can be useful, letting the team ask us questions about our buying habits and what we are looking for etc.

So now I look forward to seeing what changes they make to the site based on our discussion and feedback. And I get a little insight into how my participants must feel when they leave a testing session with me, wondering how the website we just worked through might change in the future.

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