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Content last updated 1998
focus groups
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Focus groups have been used for years for consumer products. The basic idea is to get 6 to 8 people around a table to talk about what they like, and don't like about your product (or potential product).

It is just as easy to do this for software products as it for brands of pizza. The consumers or users will need to see something concrete on the screen. Prototypes created using tools such as VB and Director are ideal.

Users/Customers are a type of Consumers
A Focus Group is a guided discussion with a number of consumers (or users), which is used to discover preferences for new or existing products.

Typically 6 to 8 people are asked to spend about 1 to 2 hours together with a moderator discussing a particular product, or product concept, in informal surroundings. Each group is made up of people who share common characteristics, for example product users in a particular industry sector.  Several meetings with different groups are held to avoid bias, typically on consecutive evenings.

A Focus Group is relatively simple to set up and run, it usually takes between 2 and 4 weeks from start to finish. We have facilities in London, or portable equipment for other locations.

What is a Focus Group? spacer
focus group Focus Group schematic
You can use a focus group to
  • gather information anonymously (i.e. how do you rate against the competition)
  • to prioritise features for release 1 versus release 2
  • to confirm that you haven't missed any «must have» features
  • to understand how buying decisions are made, and by whom.
What a Focus Group can tell you
A focus group is useful at the early stages of the product development cycle. Use it to gather and confirm requirements, and to trap emotional issues that may not come out in more formal meetings. When to run a Focus Group
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