Focus Groups

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Focus groups provide the opportunity for participants to debate issues, share experiences and to expand and develop ideas from their own perspectives.  In addition, working in groups of similar types of users will allow participants to form and develop ideas based on their customer requirements and real-world experiences.

They are carried out at the early stages of a project when a concept or proposition is being developed, or in the case of an existing digital asset or service, when a redesign is being considered


The quality of recruitment and the preparation put in to the creation of the discussion guide is important when planning for a focus group.

The first step is selecting the right facilitation aids that will enable to group to provide the insight required. We also need to consider the management of the group, facilitating the discussion, running activities and ensuring the research objectives are met during the 90 minutes. Getting this right requires experience together with proper planning and preparation.

Running the Focus Groups

Within the groups a range of individual tasks and groups exercises can be used to explore opinions and encourage deeper discussions, such as individual thought bubble completion – where participants individually write up their initial thoughts and opinions about an idea or concept before it is discussed amongst the group.


In contrast we can carry out a group activity such as card sort where participants are asked to work as groups to sort cards containing a range of features or properties into piles based on certain criteria e.g. individual features sorted by most important factors influencing usage.

Each focus group lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and can involve 2 to 4 or 7 to 8 participants. For concept and proposition work we tend to use small groups of 2 to 4 people because they provide a more intimate setting where we can go into greater depth.


We typically hold focus groups within a viewing facility, with full audio and video recording and so that representatives from the client organisation can view.
This carries a cost and is therefore optional and sometimes, as with a project we ran in New York about a new cosmetics proposition, the client is happy to watch the videos and read the report.

Delivering the Findings

The output from focus groups is always a detailed report containing observations, analysis and recommendations. A huge amount of data is gathered during focus groups and a significant aspect of the project is the consultant’s ability to synthesise this data into meaningful findings. To accompany the report we provide video of the sessions so that the project team can look back on the sessions as the project evolves.


A good example of this is a recent project we ran for Facebook where they were considering adding a new function to their Workplace platform. Working with a number of small groups of 4 participants recruited as pairs, 2 from each organisation, we were able to delve into their contextual needs on considerable detail.

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