Focus Groups: Testing design from b to z

No matter which stage of product or brand development — designing, prototyping, testing — getting feedback early and often can make all the difference. bzdesign finds that one of the most productive and efficient methods for testing is focus groups. Nothing beats getting out on the street asking real people for tangible, unbiased feedback.

Public focus groups are not available for every client, unfortunately. Tight intellectual property constraints might cause complications; in these cases, we rely on “dogfooding” (or internal testing). This testing usually occurs through our own talented team of bzdesigners or our client’s own trusted team, replicating external focus groups as best as possible for the benefits of highly scrutinized and thoroughly tested designs.

Whether public or private, we find that focus groups bring unbiased eyes, ears and hands to offer valuable feedback and fresh perspectives. We ask the tough questions and we’re not offended if the feedback differs from our initial expectations.

If our design is lacking and needs to pivot, our motto is “Bring it!” The earlier, the better.

Here are a few examples of recent focus group testing:

Gorbel Medical: When designing the user interface (UI) of the Safegait software, we knew the layout had to intuitively align to an industry full of fast moving medical professionals. We worked on location with bright, cutting-edge therapists to determine ideal functionality. The result is a sleek, intuitive UI that continues to be the focal point of demos and ads.

Thermal Gradient: When designing Thermal Gradient’s molecular testing equipment, we knew we had to interview lab technicians — not only to understand their jobs, but to see how a new device would integrate into their workflow. We researched processes, users, and user locations, asking tough questions along the way. Their responses proved invaluable to the final design.

Nalgene: To test our water bottle graphics, we polled 14 “superMoms” — moms and grandmas in the back-to-school market — and obtained valuable feedback on our preliminary design work.  The sample size was small, but the feedback was huge. It sharpened our focus: which designs to pursue and (perhaps even more valuable) which designs to leave on the cutting room floor.

Knapp Vineyards: For this brand overhaul project, we first identified our target focus group audience: small-batch brewing enthusiasts. We worked with FocusGroupIt, an online platform that allowed us to quickly sync with this very particular niche audience. Their unbiased feedback gave early feedback on logo development and label designs, influencing the final brand and product line.

Interested in learning more about our focus group and prototype testing process? Give us a call or email.