Focus Group

Uncovering internal biases and advocating for a change in site structure.

Study Plan


As part of an overall platform information study, focus groups were held with internal users to gain an understanding of experiences, assumptions of users, core activities within the platform, and suggestions for platform information architecture.

Twenty-five participants across 5 sessions were primed to reflect on the platform's core study and mission and introduced to information architecture (IA) concepts and asked to apply the concepts to the platform.


  • For the platform's mission to be reflected in the platform

  • To future-proof the information architecture of the platform

  • To introduce the concept of Information Architecture and the potential for changing the site structure should subsequent studies demonstrate the need for this type of large-scale change

Summary of findings:

  • Participants shared a common vision for the goal of the platform navigation: For users to feel engaged, to see the impact of their actions, be informed of the actions they take, and be interested in the core mission of the platform.

  • Common user pain points were vocalized throughout the sessions using the language of information architecture, such as information density, lack of wayfinding, use of ambiguous language, and hidden, deep pyramid structures of nested pages.

  • Throughout the sessions, I captured assumptions noted by participants. Assumptions were shared related to key activities, user specific roles, navigation, and even conflicting assumptions on user subject-specific knowledge.

Post focus group

  • Suggested organizational ideas to restructure the platform prototyped to demonstrate areas of value and areas of potential future navigational issues. The top platform navigation ideas are planned to be tested via Tree Test to ensure categories make sense to the average user.

  • Assumptions collected during the focus groups have been continually tested in subsequent studies. These tests have so far proven false a core assumption of the software's users subject-specific knowledge. This has lead to increased research on these core assumptions and has led the Product team to adjust its focus to address this subject-specific knowledge gap.