I was involved in a recent focus group study where we had six different requests from the users about what they wanted in the site (And all six are different and dont really have any correlation with each other). I am trying to figure out how we can take the information from these six different requests and assimilate them and define the objective of the site.

Is there any way we can utilize disparate data from the group and refine it further to define the objective of the site or I am just wondering if we did the focus group completely wrong by not condensing towards a specific goal.

  • 3
    Are the 6 things falling under a particular task? Or, any larger umbrella? If so, it can indicate you need to work on improving the existing functionality. – rk. May 13 '13 at 17:11
  • Do you have any personas defined for the site? How well do the people in the focus group fit into these? I think there are probably more details about the users that you can use to put their request in content of their needs and goals. You also need to have some views about how well these fit within the business/technology goals and objectives, rather than be swayed by user opinions along. Perhaps you might even consider a second round of focus group? – Michael Lai May 14 '13 at 1:30

I would start by going back to the recording of the session to see what questions the users were answering and try to figure out why they made the specific requests. Quite often, the underlying problems can be related though the recommended solutions from users are very different.

Ultimately, if you can't get any more information than what you already have, this is a good moment to look at the goals of your site and lay these requests atop of them. Do they fit? If so, where? Are these request within scope of your site? etc.

If this doesn't provide any clarification, think about the questions you want to ask those same users, now that you know the end requests. And try to think about the holes in the original questioning. I'd go back and fill in the question gaps and try to run a second round of testing.

I'd also like to point out that traditional focus groups aren't necessarily the place for design research. Many things can happen to easily skew the findings of a self-reporting technique like this, such as the groups being taken over by a large personality or people simply responding quickly, not truly being introspective, etc. Here's some information on where focus groups can fit into your research plan.

If possible, I recommend that you define each page with very specific user goals and tasks, and then conduct a simple task-based test. This will tell you much more about what a user needs than asking them what they want or need.

Also, keep in mind that user requests are just that, requests. Not all of them will be useful or good for your product, even if it occurs frequently. It's up to you/your team to decide how to tackle the problem that lies under each request.

  • Great response! You hit all the points and more I was thinking about when I read the initial question. There might be enough data pulled from the focus group to do some followup studies, ones that are more impartial. – wootcat Jun 13 '13 at 21:30

It sounds like you need to to group some of the requests. Of the 6, what are the most closest ones?

As with many projects, it is sometimes ,and more ofthen than not, nessisary to do all 6 in a one by one fashion

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