Planning a Focus Group For Your Library Website

An effective website should provide people with useful, easily accessible information that offers depth but does not burden the reader with unnecessary details. Identifying user experience issues via focus groups can help improve website ease of use and bring to light issues before launch.


Prior to any wireframing, content restructuring and development of your new site, a great way to gather feedback is a simple online survey. Asking a few questions on how people use the current site will pay dividends, and keep your patrons happy as you incorporate this feedback into your new site. It may also be helpful to dig into any current analytics before organizing your focus group, if available.

Focus Groups

The group should be between 8 – 10 people that traverse your target audience. Break the group into 3 segments (Youth, Adult, Senior, for example) and form a list of questions that outline common use cases. Interviewing these groups will give you and your consultancy and designers/developers a better sense of what patrons want to see in a new site.

Sample Questions

As you are planning your focus group, it is important to gather feedback on the current site as well as the new site. Asking patrons to compare and contrast the websites will shed light on potential areas that any have been moved or omitted during the migration:

  • Current Site

    • How often do you use the current website?
    • What devices do you use for accessing the current website? Desktop computer, tablet, smartphone?
    • What is the primary reason you visit the site?
    • What other reasons do you have for using the website?
  • New Site

    • What is your overall impression of the new website?
    • What types of content do you expect to find when accessing the website?
    • Are you able to find the information you need on the new website? If not, what is missing or difficult to find?
    • What suggestions do you have for improving the new website, including design, information and functionality?
    • How do you search for content on the new website? Do you use the navigation or the search box, or rely on other external links?
    • Describe a positive experience you’ve had with the new website. What made it a positive experience?
    • Describe a negative experience you’ve had with the new website. What made it a negative experience?

Your patrons are the people who will be using the library’s website on a regular basis. Receiving feedback from the community will help clarify the usability of your new site, and learn its most important features. If you are interested in setting up a focus group for your library’s redesign, contact Libby!