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You may recall in 2019 we announced that we had won a tender to design Scottish Recovery Network’s new website. Since then, we’ve been hard at work to develop their brand and website. Before entering the last phase of our work, we decided to conduct a focus group to get some feedback on our development so far.

Why Focus Groups?

Conducting a focus group at this stage, before building the website, is slightly unconventional. It’s much more common to use a focus group towards the end of a project. However, conducting a focus group before beginning the website build was a great fit for Scottish Recovery Network. They really wanted this feedback to influence the development of their brand.

Usually, focus groups can be used to determine if an initial idea is received well, or if the final execution of that idea is received well. However, sometimes focus group responses don’t really shape the development of a product or project. Scottish Recovery Network has been a great client to work with and have been open and flexible to change. This has given us a lot of freedom in redesigning their website. They wanted to get participants involved at this stage to confirm that the new navigation and layout would be easy to use but also that the new design was appealing and fit with their brand.

How we do it…

Simon, a member of our Cole AD team, moderated the focus group. We led the participants through our development of the new SRN logo and drew comparisons from the old website to the new website. 

Our participants were from different age ranges and backgrounds, but all had some knowledge of mental health support and resources.

Our client from Scottish Recovery Network was present at the focus group. We thought that this might lead participants to hold back their opinions. However, it turned out to be a very helpful tool in explaining the motivations for some choices. As well as clearing up specific information contained in the website content.

There was an easy rapport throughout the session and an honest and frank discussion was had by all.

What we get from it…

We gained a lot of insight from this focus group. What stood out to us the most was the concern with accessibility. Moving to a website based around media and less around written conten was acknowledged as a great step towards better accessibility. Our participants were also interested in how this might translate to video. We’ve known this is a growing demand in our industry for a while – and Cole AD have been taking steps into video and animation. But hearing how useful these resources are from an accessibility standpoint really gave us the motivation to try and push this forward in even more 2020/21. Luckily, our client from Scottish Recovery Network was interested in the possibility of video work too.

We also found that centring real life stories and experiences of mental health on the website was equally well received. We found that our participants thought this would lead to greater engagement on the website and showed positive examples of what recovery can look like.

Now, we know you’ll be keen to see the new SRN website for yourself. We’ll be launching the new website in the coming months, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

And a special shout-out to Electric Bee Catering for their glorious sandwich and cake platters for the afternoon. Free lunch is as good an incentive as any for taking part in a focus group!