...and now for another Human Factors Minute!
Focus groups are a type of qualitative research method that can be a powerful tool in system development, but they should not be the only source of information about user behavior.
the proper role of focus groups is not to assess interaction styles or design usability, but to discover what users want from the system.
These can be on a one-to-one interview basis, or in a group session. Can be used to gain a large quantity of deep qualitative data, though due to the small sample size, can be subject to a higher degree of individual bias. Can be used at any point in the design process, as it is largely dependent on the exact questions to be pursued, and the structure of the group.
Focus groups are a somewhat informal technique that can help you assess user needs and feelings both before interface design and long after implementation. In a focus group, you bring together 6–9 users to discuss issues and concerns about the features of a user interface.
They can only assess what customers say they do and not the way customers actually operate the product. Since there are often major differences between what people say and what they do, direct observation of one user at a time always needs to be done to supplement focus groups.
This has been another Human Factors Minute!
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