Affinity Diagramming

Affinity diagramming is a method that used to sort the collected data into groups. It is a collaborative tool, which helps out team to identify patterns and connections in the qualitative data we got from the previous parts of the UX research process (e.g. from User Interviews and Contextual Inquiries).

How does it help

Asking the right questions, having hypotheses, and collecting interesting insights are a great things, however, we also need methods to get meaningful information from the research data. Affinity Diagramming is one of these methods: it helps our design team to find the main areas of focus, for example it can highlight painpoints, areas to improve.

What will you get

Affinity Diagramming is basically a workshop: we organize the collected research data with post-its, we take notes, and articulate findings. This method itself does not result in a deliverable, which we can provide you at the end of the process. Instead, it helps us to conduct other methods, like creating Personas, or summarizing User Interviews.

Next to organizing research data, affinity diagramming is useful for many other things, like arranging the findings of a Usability Testing, grouping the functions of your product or service, or designing an Information Architecture.

What is the process

The process depends on the goal of the Affinity Diagramming, but essentially these are the main steps:

  • Preparing the data, information that we will work with
  • Writing the pieces of data on post-its
  • Posting the post-its on a wall or whiteboards
  • Organizing the data (new trends and categories can emerge)
  • Taking pictures and notes to document
  • Summarizing the main findings