>I need some ammo on why we should focus on doing usability tests as >opposed to doing "exploratory protocol focus groups.."
Completely different beasts for different purposes. Can't be
substituted one for the other.
You cannot elicit behavioural information from focus groups.
Therefore, you cannot get information about how users *interact with*
the cell phone prototype from the focus group.
As a result, focus groups can't determine if users would actually use
a product (use CI, or other ethnographic research), buy a product
(market or product validation), what features should be put in a
product (CI, market/product validation), whether a product is
learnable or usable (usability testing). For all these types of data,
you require observation of behaviour, not self-reported opinion.
What you will get from an exploratory protocol focus group are
customers' (or potential customers') opinions and reactions to a
specific concept. You'll find out what customers think and feel about
your proposed idea, if they are more likely to buy (as opposed to
actually buying!), if they think you're going in the right direction.
As the name implies, they are excellent for exploration.
They will NOT validate a proposed design. Cannot say this often enough.