Focus groups are a user research method where a researcher guides a group of 3 – 10 participants through a series of questions about a topic, product, or design. Focus groups can be conducted either remotely or in-person.
Because focus groups rely on self-reported user data, they are considered an attitudinal research method. Focus groups are considered a qualitative research method since they focus on the in-depth motivations and thought processes behind the user experience. Interviews are typically one-on-one, while focus groups collect qualitative feedback from a group of participants.
Focus groups are commonly used in market research to collect feedback about a product or brand. In UX research, they can be used to collect data or feedback that may be difficult to collect in a typical interview or survey. Unlike a survey or one-on-one interview, a focus group has a social dynamic that may facilitate participants opening up and sharing their thoughts.
Before conducting a focus group, the moderator will need to prepare a discussion guide to focus the conversation. Adding activities like collaging, drawing, brainstorming with sticky notes, card sorting, or role-playing can help engage participants and break away from a standard question-and-answer format.