Focus groups, also called group interviews or open forums, are designed to bring a homogeneous group of participants together to discuss their opinions and insights on a particular product, service, or issue. Focus groups are effective when conducted during the developmental design stages of a project, in that they allow the researchers to incorporate participant feedback back into the project’s design. They can be used to understand participants’ work habits, types of assignments, gaps in existing spaces and services, and more.
- Useful in identifying the design elements that are most useful in a space, as well as the elements that users find insufficient
- An opportunity to receive candid feedback from participants through group dialogue
- Allows for follow-up questioning from the researcher due to face-to-face interaction with the participants
- Not as effective in measuring issues regarding performance
- Participants can be influenced by each other and subject to “groupthink”
- Can be time-consuming (4-6 weeks for planning, conducting, and analyzing data)