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Guidelines for measuring the user experience

Focus Groups

A focus group is a moderated discussion among eight to twelve users or potential users of your site. A typical focus group lasts about two hours and covers a range of topics that you decide on beforehand. The technique produces different kinds of information. In a typical usability test or contextual interview, users act; you watch (and listen to) them doing their work. The researchers should select representative participants who match the users that will be the visitors of a website or application. A script should be written that contains the questions that need to be covered yet the script should remain flexible. 

The purpose of focus groups is to learn about user's attitudes, beliefs, desires and their reactions to ideas or to prototypes. Individuals come together and express diverse views on topics, which helps discover not only a useful range of views, but also for the participants to learn from each other, and to generate a sense of social cohesion.