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Re: [ia-55] User Testing Vs. Focus Groups

From: user 4.
Sent on: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 11:51 AM
My question is why a focus group and what do you need or hope to get out of it? I'll assume you have been roped into a focus group for whatever reason (I've been there :0 ). I'll also make the assumption the purpose of doing the focus group is not to test usability as focus groups are for sure not the tool to do that with. If it is then there's a bunch of apps and service to do remote usability. I'll also make an assumption that you'll be driving a prototype and participants will all not be playing with interfaces which would be a mess. Not a big fan of focus groups for the reasons you've stated of bias and herd mentality etc . . . . Plus I still think if you give someone enough free shrimp they'll tell you whatever they think it is that you want to hear . . . That said I'd take focus groups over nothing so let's not dwell on why focus groups are dumb and that you should do x instead. In my experience focus groups are good for gathering perceptions and are qualitative over quantitative. I tend to stick to open ended questions to make people think a bit and formulate an answer based on something. For example - looking at the navigation, what do you think you'd see if you clicked X? and then ask probing questions then click on it and talk about it. Of course then facilitation becomes key. I'd try and develop a script that hits a manageable number of topics (over many very specific questions) to allow time for the discussion. You mentioned using web x so not sure if you'll have multiple participants in a room together somewhere or in separate places looking at the same thing and discussing en masse. Way different dynamics which could make it tough to control. I'd definitely make up a set of "how to play nice" rules to begin the test to keep order and people from talking over one another.

On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM, lynn <[address removed]> wrote:
User testing is not useful by focus group.  User testing should be one-on-one, task focused.  Steve Krug offers some amazing guerrilla tips on how to do user testing.  Focus groups are more useful for requirements gathering and priority-setting.

I could say more, but it's probably best not to get me started this morning.  --lynn

On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 11:03 AM, Thomas Donehower, Dir UX at Xi <[address removed]> wrote:

Does anyone have any thoughts about best practices for focus groups? I've done a lot of one on one user testing, but have not conducted a lot of focus groups. We're basically showing a prototype application to a target group of users, about 10, via WebEx. 

I'm concerned about "group think" and "mob rule" type comments as we review the application. 

Any thoughts about how to best show the application and which questions to ask to get the most valuable feedback from the group? 



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