Focus group a is research method when a group of users is invited to participate in user interface (UI) testing. Users invited to evaluate interface usability are, in fact, potential clients.
Interviews with users are conducted in accordance with a scenario or guide written in advance. A user is asked to answer questions or fulfill tasks when working with the app UI. All users’ actions, attitudes towards certain interface elements, remarks and emotions are recorded in audio and video for further analysis.
The main goal of a focus group is to increase usability level of an app or a site.
A focus group method can be applied when testing prototype UI to collect and analyze initial opinions about interface and improve questionable elements. It is also practised at the UI testing of a ready app. Upon completion, we come up with a list of improvements to be made.
Focus group interviews allow better understanding of end-users’ behaviour patterns, which is not attainable with other methods.
Here is an example of UI testing conducted by our dedicated testing team with a focus group:
When UI testing with a focus group is completed, we create a table of results that shows all problems the users experienced during the testing process. The detected problems are later fixed by changing interface, design or functionality of an app.
As a result of UI testing for XBtrack, the following problems were detected:
Task 1 Enter the application using any generated email for the first step of registration and any domain name for the second step
After login, the system doesn’t offer any further actions
It is not convenient for user to enter his new login and password manually
Task 2 Add any user in the system
It’s not intuitively clear how to create a user
It takes time to find the required functionality
The purpose of the button NEW is not evident
The button to add a new user doesn’t look like a standard button that the user supposes to see
It is not clear what login should be entered to add a user
Task 3 Create/Add a User
The button Add doesn’t look like a button
Task 4 Set the grid view in order to see information that is important and useful for you
It is not intuitively clear where the grid settings are
The user gets lost in the variety of interface elements
The user thinks that settings should be in the user profile
It took 70 seconds to find the grid button
Task 5 Turn off email notifications except changes in statuses
The button to set up notifications differs from other buttons of the app, which causes little confusion
It is not clear for the user whether the settings have been updated and he leaves the profile without saving the changes. Thus, the task is not completed.
Task 6 Add the previously created user to your project
Button to edit the project is not evident
Functionality problem: it is not always possible to do the expected action (drag and drop issue)
Task 7 Add a task for this user
The details form is overwhelmed with options and the user gets lost in the sequence of his actions
It is hard to distinguish the main functionality
Error in program functionality (task displaying in the grid) made the user even more dissatisfied
Task 8 Login the application using the account of previously created user
Profile button is missing
The user was confused that the login of the user he created didn’t match the name he entered
Task 9 Add comment and upload any picture to the previously created task
While adding a picture, it was not evident that upload should start upon a click on the button
System behavior in this part differs from commonly used implementations.
Task 10 View the uploaded picture in the application (using the source of the application)
It was so inevident how to open a picture that the user downloaded it several times
The user spent a lot of time to find a View Gallery button to view the picture
The button View Gallery doesn’t look like a button
Task 11 Log out the appication
The user had no problems with logout
As a rule, we conduct several focus groups (1 or 2 in general) involving users of different levels of proficiency and awareness: experienced users and technical specialists, users of average level, who are somewhat familiar with the program, newbies who are new to the program. There are from 6 to 12 people in each focus group. Minimum time necessary to prepare and conduct a focus group is 4-5 days.
We also conduct repeated focus groups after interface has been updated to ensure the application became more user-friendly and meets users’ expectations.
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