Quantitative and interactive insight

Online discussion groups

A great way to get interactive feedback especially from hard to reach respondents

  • Why and when

    When you need quantitative feedback on users’ attitudes, the online forum is a great tool.  With an online forum you can reach a larger number of respondents, but still get the qualitative ‘why do you think that?’ sort of responses, critical for decision making. This is particularly useful at the exploratory stage of a project.

    Respondents can view and comment on webpages, tools or prototypes, respond to poll questions and post comments. The interaction between respondents can provide invaluable insights, which the moderator can probe, so clients can really get ‘under the user’s skin’.

    Online forums are a great way to access hard to reach, geographically dispersed or busy respondents. Participants can get involved at their own leisure and from their own home or office. It is a much more cost effective way to gather the views of a large number of respondents, than the focus group route.

    Forums work well when you need more than just answers, you want to know why respondents are reacting in that way. Because respondents can interact and the moderators can probe or ask supplementary questions, you can deepen your understanding of users’ needs and explore issues raised by the respondents which you hadn’t previously considered. Viewing the comments and discussion being posted often informs and stimulates the project team to make amendments and improvements to the existing concepts and prototypes.

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  • Our Approach

    Web Usability uses third party software to host our online forums.

    We work with you to recruit at least 100 respondents who fit your profile, providing a statistically robust sample. The respondents are briefed on the process and given the forum schedule. Typically a forum is run across 4 or 5 days, with new tasks or questions posed to the whole group on a daily basis. We can flex the timescales as the forum develops.

    Respondents are given a link to a website, prototype or image.

    We pose a question (‘What do you think of the home page?’ ‘Go to the product pages and find a product meeting this criteria. How easy or difficult is this?’)

    They view the stimulus material and post their feedback in the forum

    Respondents must post and complete a simple poll style question, after which they can see and respond to other respondents’ comments.

    Moderators monitor the discussion and respond to comments to probe further, or to get other views.

    Members of the client organisation can log in and observe the forum discussion. They can pass questions or comments to the moderator to post on the forum board. They can even redesign a page in response to respondent feedback, have this posted to the forum and get feedback on the revised design.

    Respondents can dip in and out when they have time to do so.

    The forum runs for a pre-agreed length of time, with the option to extend the period if necessary.

  • Outputs

    We can provide the outputs of the forum in a presentation or a report format. We would capture the key issues identified, with graphs and tables showing the poll results and illustrative respondent quotes.

    See how our online discussion group helped The Times