What Is a Focus Group?

At a Glance

Focus groups allow contributors to engage and brainstorm with each other and it is one of the many effective ways of gathering insight. 


What is a focus group?

A focus group is a live activity with one moderator and multiple contributors. During the session, the moderator asks this group of people about their behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and experiences on a topic or item of interest. Focus groups can be conducted in person or online.

Why are focus groups helpful?

Focus groups allow contributors to interact and converse with others while discussing a topic. They are helpful in gathering insights into a group’s actions, thoughts, and feelings. The discussion leads to people building on each other’s ideas, which allows a group to brainstorm about an idea or challenge they are facing.

A focus group lets you collect ideas from a large group of people quickly, but the feedback is less in-depth than what you can collect during 1-on-1 interviews.

When should a focus group be conducted?

Focus groups are typically done during early ideation—before design and development has begun—as a way to identify requirements.

How do focus groups typically work with UserTesting?

You will need to purchase Professional Services to run a focus group with UserTesting. Because of this, focus groups are only available on certain subscription plans with Professional Services bundles.

Based on your required demographics, we'll typically recruit up to three groups of five contributors for a webcam or voice-based focus group. We'll coordinate with contributors to schedule them at a specific time and date.

Then we'll host an online meeting via Zoom where a UserTesting researcher will navigate your website, prototype, or mockups and share it with the contributors while also asking a series of questions based on an agreed-upon moderation script.

During these small, video-based sessions, all contributors will share their webcams and participate via live voice conversation. The final result includes both a video of the session and the transcript of the contributors’ conversation, which will all be available in the platform.

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