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Focus group

The focus group is part of the qualitative methodologies. The principle is to interview a group of users at the same time in order to bring out insights through their exchanges or via idea bounce. The group dynamic is particularly appropriate for ideation or co-creation exercises.

Research methodology

  • 6-10 users
  • Results in 2 to 3 weeks
  • Great for generating ideas locally or anywhere in the world, ideal for creating or developing your projects, exploring group dynamics, leveraging creative workshops methods such as card sorting, crazy8, etc.
  • Session duration: 2 hours
  • Moderated by a professional facilitator
  • In a room with all users, most often with one-way glass
A focus group is a discussion organized with a group of respondents. A moderator leads the discussion through an interview guide on a particular topic to get feedback (about the profile of users, products, services, concepts, prototypes, strategies and environments) and learning through the dynamics of group.

What are the advantages and constraints of focus groups in UX ?

  • The group effect can help the user feel more comfortable and free to speak
  • User interaction will help new ideas to emerge
  • Debate will push the user to take assertive positions and argue it
  • Group creation will force users to find solutions that are satisfactory to all, while identifying possible obstacles in their exchanges
  • The focus group is not recommended on sensitive subjects where the user will not dare to express himself in front of other people
  • The number of users should be limited to a maximum of 10 in order to avoid parallel discussions and loss of information
  • Homogeneous profiles are needed within the same group so that exchanges are fluid and there is good synergy
  • The focus group is less appropriate for user tests which represent an individual experience

What type of UX research can you do with a focus group ?

Here are some non-exhaustive examples:

Customer knowledge

Customer knowledge

To understand customer behaviors and needs.

Concept / idea test

Concept / idea testing

To evaluate users' interest in a concept and refine your project with generated insights.

Ideation

Ideation

To co-build products and services with your customers, based on their needs.

Deliverables of a focus group

Included:

  • Report with analysis
  • Material resulting from group work if this is the case

Optional:

  • Video capture of sessions (to be validated before the project)
  • UX recommendations
  • Room rental and management
  • Transcription
  • Post-study coaching
  • International and translations
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They made focus group with Ferpection

Bip&Go
"The design thinking approach proposed by Ferpection helped us to understand our targets for this application launch, to focus on one target rather than another, to establish precise profiles and to prioritize the functionalities that would make us stand out from the likes of Waze. I am satisfied with the way the project was carried out: method, breakdown, understanding of our problem, reactivity, precise restitution, readable supports, everything is there. In short, this is not a study for the fun of it, it is a concrete tool for our mobile application."

- Bryan Body, Product Lead Bip&Go

Bouygues Telecom
"How to stepchange SEO and UX at the same time? Thanks to Ferpection's unique combination of focus groups, card sorting and usability tests, we were able to reconsider our hypothesis and generate clear R.O.I.: +80% SEO traffic and +30% conversion rate!"

- Yohan Debray, Product Owner Bouygues Telecom

How does this UX research takes placet ?

  • The kick-off call allows us to finalize with you the objectives and the protocol of the focus group.
  • We recruit users according to the targeting criteria identified together beforehand, in your local country as well as internationally.
  • We invite to the focus group more users than the desired number, in order to avoid withdrawals.
  • We write the interview guide, based on your goals. This guide will be followed by the facilitator during the focus group sessions.
  • During the study, the facilitator is assisted by another professional who transcribes the sessions.
  • Participants are invited to various workshops, tests and scenarios to explore your issues.
  • Session videos are recorded.
  • Analysis are provided from topline to in-depth reports, including cultural awareness in the case of international interviews.
User studies are generally done in four main stages; the choice of the UX research method, the targeting of the users, the recovery of the qualitative data and finally the analysis of this qualitative data.

Who can you target with a focus group ?

End customer (B2C)
End customer
(B2C)
Professional customer (B2B)
Pro customer
(B2B)
Internal customer (B2E)
Internal customer
(B2E)

When can you conduct a focus group ?

Concept
Concept
Prototype
Prototype
Pre-Launch
Pre-Launch
Post-Launch
Post-Launch

Why conduct a focus group ?

  • Discover users and their needs
  • Define the essential features
  • Find creative or development leads
  • Explore cultural differences at global level

Learn more with our article: User Testing: What, When and How ?

Your frequently asked questions about UX focus groups

👉 Can UX testing be done with focus groups ?

A priori, focus group is not the most suitable UX methodology. User tests mostly represent individual experiences and require an equally individual evaluation. The interview or remote user test is therefore often recommended to minimise bias. However, if the experience to be tested is collective or is related to a group dynamic, it can be interesting.

👉 What are the differences between an online and a classroom focus group ?

Video focus groups keep the same main characteristics as the in-room focus group. However, there are some nuances to take into account:

  • The exchanges will lose slightly in fluidity at the level of bouncing and speaking
  • A maximum of 6 users is recommended to compensate for this loss of fluidity
  • Tools such as Miro or Mural can facilitate collaboration.
  • You can have geographical diversity within the same focus group

👉 When to do a focus group for my market research

For the creation of a new product or service, it is interesting to go and explore the behaviours or expectations of your target with a qualitative phase such as a focus group. This will allow you to bring out different points and be more exhaustive in your quantitative phase, which will consolidate and measure these different lessons. On the other hand, if you have no idea of the target your new offer will address, it is preferable to start with a quantitative phase with a targeting study. You can then dig into the various points identified as priorities in focus groups for example.

👉 How to lead a focus group

The role of the facilitator is to moderate the group and ensure a good dynamic between the participants. Here are some tips:

  • Take care to ensure that speaking time is well distributed: you can challenge and restart the more shy profiles, and thus slow down the more talkative ones.
  • You should encourage different points of view while remaining neutral.
  • To put participants at ease, with the facilitator and each other, consider using an ice breaker at the beginning of the group.
  • Also with the aim of being comfortable, it is best if moderation is done by someone external to the project. Participants will feel freer to express themselves and this will avoid the inevitable bias of being a stakeholder.
  • A focus group lasts between 2 and 3 hours, a break will allow participants not to lose concentration and relevance.
  • The moderator must be dedicated to the exchange with the participants, note-taking must be done by another person.

👉 When to conduct a focus group for design thinking.

Focus groups will be used during the divergence phases, during which the field of possibilities must be opened up as much as possible, in order to bring out as many ideas as possible. They can meet exploratory objectives to bring out user needs or ideation objectives in co-creation phases. You will find more details in this article.

👉 How to write a focus group questionnaire

In the case of a focus group, we rather speak of an interview guide. The construction is in fact quite similar to that of an interview : the questions must be as open as possible, and the framework must have a funnel logic, i.e. go all the way from the most general to the most specific.

Why do a focus group with Ferpection ?

  • The focus group is one of the specialties of our User Research Director. She has since shared her expertise with her team.
  • We have combined these skills with Ferpection DNA, specialist in UX and digital interfaces.
  • We accompany you from A to Z for your focus group.
Diversity
Diversity
Quality
Quality
Speed
Speed
Simplicity
Simplicity
Agility
Agility
Autonomy
Autonomy
Support
Support
Prioritisation
Prioritisation
Targeting
Targeting

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