I never thought I'd embrace the focus group as part of UX process, until I had to. Basically, I was asked to produce qualitative results in a quantitative manner asap. (Scheduling a whole bunch of one-on-ones was not an option.) Though I have found that I can meet that outcome of qual results in a quant study with a well structured survey (thanks to this article on Norman Neilsen for inspiring me), in my situation, doing a survey was not an option.

Fortunately for me, I had access to our company's training room for this focus group. That gave me the leverage to put every one of the test subjects at an identical laptop, so I knew what experience they would each be having, as I myself drove the meeting also using an identical laptop.

Based on my experience, I have created a scientific lab study template that I am offering for others to use. Please modify it for your own use. Enjoy.


Hypothesis: Users will find the information architecture of a our redesigned product to be efficient and sensible. The actions required to complete their task of [Task Description, e.g., creating a listing for the bicycle they are selling] will be easy to intuit. Link scent will be strong.

every user has a laptop connected to the internet
every laptop has a pdf that contains 2 links:
- 1 link to the online Figma prototype w/ link sharing on
- 1 link to the online Google Form SUS survey
name placard (link to Google doc template: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SgBqfB5xLN860C6pj-hRuLhUzukXuJmPTs0PoG7Spss/edit)

users enter and check their name off the sign in sheet
users sign the non-compete clause
users pick up their name placard
users sit in pairs or groups of 3
moderators (UX designers and/or product managers) facilitate, 1 per group
Conduct the Test:
Lead Moderator introduces team; outlines the expected outcomes
- provide instructions on how to use the prototype, i.e., "the flow is somewhat linear, but for the most part you can click any link; tap R to rewind the prototype to the first page in the flow; if you ever see a blue flash, that's a hotspot which you can tap on"
- let users interact with the prototype
--- moderators facilitate, with a focus on allowing for users to think aloud
--- if moderators interject with questions, they should allow for uncomfortable pauses
--- soon, the small groups will be bubbling with conversation; moderators are to facilitate the conversation without interfering
- All-group discussion and summary
--- ask a moderator from each group to identify 1 or 2 highlights, such as a "rose, bud, or thorn" moment (delight, opportunity, pain point)
------ be sure subjects - not moderators - are doing most of the talking
- SUS (System Usability Scale) survey
--- ask subjects to return to the pdf document and click on 2nd link, which links to the SUS
- team synthesis session
--- team meets to share notes and observations which will in turn be presented to stakeholders and other interested parties


Laura Bridges-Pereira. "Fold paper for name tag". YouTube
Susan Farell. "28 Tips for Creating Great Qualitative Surveys". Nielsen Norman Group