UXPA 2013 IGNITE: Focus Groups for UX - The Root of All Evil

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Part of a debate style presentation at UXPA Intl conference where 2 presenters argue for Focus Groups as a UX method and 2 presenters argue against Focus Groups as a UX method.

Part of a debate style presentation at UXPA Intl conference where 2 presenters argue for Focus Groups as a UX method and 2 presenters argue against Focus Groups as a UX method.

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  • Thank you Judge Thomas, esteemed colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I would like to spend the next five minutes telling you why focus groups (For UX field) are the root of all evil Let me start by saying focus groups are great for market research.
  • Let me start by saying focus groups are great for market research. Focus groups are designed to foster a conversation among like-minded participants to elicit SINGLE MOOD OR COLLECTIVE IMPRESSION about a topic. The focus is on “group think” rather than 8-10 individual opinions.
  • Let’s take a look at the role of user experience in an organization. UX seeks to achieve THREE high level business goals 1. Inform a product’s features and requirements (by prioritizing those needs and opportunities thru the eyes of the user)
  • 2. To Design a product’s user interface and 3. To Evaluate the product’s user experience for ease of use, usefulness, and engagement I submit to you that to achieve these three major goals, there are much better UX methods than focus groups.  
  • First let's talk about how UX "defines user requirements of a product".  We start by quantifying the target users (sometimes as personas), then we research their tasks and workflows, and then we prioritize user needs (sometimes into use cases or user stories).
  • My colleagues might suggest you could collect user requirements in a focus group setting. But the problem with this approach is it is OUT OF CONTEXT for participants to recall how they would behave or what they would need from a product? And wouldn’t you rather ask more than 8 people?
  • It would be much better for you to go to their workplace and see for yourself their spoken and unspoken needs IN CONTEXT so you ACCURATELY inform the user requirements of the opportunities for innovation or a user’s problems to solve.
  • Then take those identified needs and innovation opportunities and validate them AT SCALE in an online survey to more accurately represents the preferences of the TOTAL POPULATION. … Using focus groups for defining…
  • Using Focus Groups for defining user requirements are therefore, EVIL since they potentially miss vital information that you would more accurately discover using traditional UX methods. focus groups are simply a bad method choice here.
  • Now let's talk about the UX goal #2 of "Designing a product's experience or UI".  Some of my esteemed colleagues may suggest using FG's to ask participants to draw the screens, the page flows, or group related items or tasks to inform navigation.
  • But wouldn’t it be much better to conduct an ONLINE CARD SORT including HUNDREDS of respondents giving their opinion of logical groupings to inform navigation and information architecture?
  • And then SKETCH screens and page flows during a Design Charrette with skilled interaction designers leading your cross functional team of SME's. … Using focus groups for designing a product’s ui…
  • Using Focus Groups for DESIGNING A PRODUCT’S UI are therefore, EVIL since they rely on too small a sample size for USER preferences and exclude your internal stakeholders from getting involved in sketching. Which approach do you think will result in a better design? Of course FG’s are evil for designing a product’s UI! They exclude your internal stakeholders from getting involved in sketching and their sample size is too small for USER preference data.
  • Finally, lets talk about the UX Goal #3 of "evaluating a product's UX".  This is where traditional UX methods truly shine over focus groups.  Let me show you how... … Some of my colleagues might suggest there are ways …
  • Some of my colleagues might suggest there are ways to evaluate a product’s UX in a focus group setting.  But WE all know the weaknesses of a co-discovery utest where one participant can bias or overpower another then you’d never get an ACCURATE assessment from the softer spoken participants.
  • One on one usability tests, however, will give each individual participant an opportunity to work with a product and demonstrate both verbally and non-verbally the design’s successes and flaws.
  • Which method do you think would do a better job at evaluating the UX of a product for its ease-of-use, its usefulness, and its engagement?
  • In summary, let us examine the evidence.  The three main business goals of the UX field are to: Inform user requirements with Discovery Research Design the user interface Evaluate the user experience (at various levels of fidelity)
  • For each of these stages of product development, you can use traditional User Experience methods which sometimes takes more time, or you can use FG's which may save time but be much less accurate.
  • Therefore, I submit to this jury that there is no other logical conclusion than to say Focus Groups, for the UX field, are the ROOT OF ALL EVIL! Thank you.

Transcript

  • 1. Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri 2013 Focus Groups for UX
  • 2. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri Focus Groups for Market Research
  • 3. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements
  • 4. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX
  • 5. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri Define User Requirements • Quantify the target users • Research their task and work flows • Prioritize user needs The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX
  • 6. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri FOCUS GROUPS •Ask 8 people in a cold conference room to recall their product needs SURVEYS & FIELD RESEARCH The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX VS
  • 7. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri FOCUS GROUPS •Ask 8 people in a cold conference room to recall their product needs SURVEYS & FIELD RESEARCH •Go to their workplace and see for yourself The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX VS
  • 8. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri FOCUS GROUPS •Ask 8 people in a cold conference room to recall their product needs SURVEYS & FIELD RESEARCH •Go to their workplace and see for yourself •Then survey the masses The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX VS
  • 9. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri VS FOCUS GROUPS •Ask 8 people in a cold conference room to recall their product needs SURVEYS & FIELD RESEARCH •Go to their workplace and see for yourself •Then survey the masses The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX
  • 10. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •8 people sketching and card sorting ONLINE CS & TEAM DESIGN VS
  • 11. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri VS The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •8 people sketching and card sorting ONLINE CS & TEAM DESIGN •Hundreds card sorting online
  • 12. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri VS The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •8 people sketching and card sorting ONLINE CS & TEAM DESIGN •Hundreds card sorting online •Then conduct internal design charrette
  • 13. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri VS The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •8 people sketching and card sorting ONLINE CS & TEAM DESIGN •Hundreds card sorting online •Then conduct internal design charrette
  • 14. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS USABILITY TEST VS
  • 15. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •Design Walkthrough with moderator driving USABILITY TEST VS
  • 16. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •Design Walkthrough with moderator driving USABILITY TEST •1x1 study of user behavior where the participant drives VS
  • 17. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Define User Requirements 2. Design a Product’s UI 3. Evaluate a Product’s UX FOCUS GROUPS •Design Walkthrough with moderator driving USABILITY TEST •1x1 study of user behavior where the participant drives VS
  • 18. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Discovery 1. Design 1. Evaluate Traditional Market UX Research
  • 19. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Discovery 1. Design 1. Evaluate Traditional Market UX Research Surveys and Focus Groups Field Research eCard Sort and Focus Groups Design Charrette Usability Test Focus Groups
  • 20. 2013 Focus Groups – The Root of All Evil (for UX) By Rich Buttiglieri The Role of UX 1. Discovery 1. Design 1. Evaluate Traditional Market UX Research Surveys and Focus Groups Field Research eCard Sort and Focus Groups Design Charrette Usability Test Focus Groups Focus Groups for UX =