Glossary » focus group
a group of potential users or stakeholders in a product who are brought together to gather information as input to the design process. When the users are current users of a prior version of a product, the questions for them will usually focus on the use of that product. Typically the goal is to understand the users’ work processes and goals and gather functional and usability requirements for a product.
In contrast to interviewing individual users, a focus group offers the opportunity for the users, rather than the interviewer, to strongly determine what the important issues are for discussion. Focus groups offer the possibility that an unexpected comment from one person will lead to deeper insights from others. Focus groups are often more time-efficient than interviews, and when they involve stakeholder, they can be valuable for obtaining consensus on issues.
Focus groups are more difficult to guide than individual interviews and may suffer from groupthink problems, where the entire group gets focused on a topic of relatively little importance.