For Design, Focus Groups Suck

Ian Lurie

focus groups
Don’t take my word for it. Jakob Nielsen said it best in 2001.
Of course you can try a focus group. Do your design. Then put 10 strangers in a small box, give them free candy, point 10 cameras at them and start firing questions. Oh, and don’t forget to make sure there’s a painfully obvious slab of one-way glass on one wall so they know they’re being observed.
You know you’ll get their natural reaction in that situation…

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Heh! Tell that to the marketing and brand people. Taking away their focus groups would be like taking away their bonuses. They’d go into withdrawal and start babbling piteously….

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