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More Categories. See our blog categories. In a nutshell, affinity mapping is putting a bunch of sticky notes with ideas on them on a wall and then grouping them based on their similarities affinities. These groupings can help you extract insights and themes to help you build effectively toward next steps. You can use it to better understand users and their needs, to define product requirements, or to plan future product features.
Any time you have a bunch of data points or ideas and need to distill them down, affinity maps are a fantastic tool to have at your disposal.
Affinity mapping has three basic steps. You can tweak each one to fit your own style, but the skeleton looks like this:. Affinity mapping can be useful as a group activity or individually. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding who should be involved in your mapping activity.
People learn kinesthetically by writing down, picking up, and physically engaging with sticky notes. Also, more people means more perspectives. The diversity of knowledge and backgrounds a group brings can yield more creative insights or better ideation. Affinity mapping is often thought of as a team sport, but individual affinity mapping can be extremely valuable, too. One other consideration is that affinity mapping is most typically thought of as an in-person activity. This is because of the added value that the movement and physical aspects bring.
However, there are some great tools out there for digital affinity mapping , and this is more critical than ever with more of the tech workforce going remote. The examples below are imagined for physical mapping, but can be easily adapted to a digital context. When working solo, I like to use this free Sketch template. Tools like LucidChart , Upboard, and Stormboard are all worth exploring for more team-based affinity mapping.
Two common use cases for affinity mapping are synthesizing qualitative research findings and analyzing ideas in early design ideation. Every comment or quotation from each interviewee is a potential data point.
Go through your notes on your own or with a group and write down anything that stands out to you as important on its own sticky note. Just like a brainstorm, the goal is to get a bunch of sticky notes on the wall. Depending on your timeframe and how thorough you want to get, you can find the balance that works for your project. Walk up to the wall and grab a sticky note.
Now grab another note. What does related mean in this context? The goal of this activity is to draw connections, so there are no right or wrong answers. But you want to find connections that might be valuable for you, so keep in mind the research questions or business goals that drove your research.
As you sort notes into clusters, feel free to write headings for each cluster on the wall or with a different color sticky note. Also, feel free to change your mind and regroup notes as you go! This is the most flexible part of the process.
The goal is to use your sorted sticky note wall to answer questions and drive your thinking. One way to do this is to continue sorting. You might group your clusters into larger ones as you find broader themes and connections. Conversely, if you started with more general categories, you might break them down further into more specific subcategories.
Jot down notes, questions, and ideas for further consideration. Make sure to take pictures of your wall—and consider translating the map into a document that you can share later with participants or stakeholders. You decide to gather your design team and have an ideation session on what features could help solve this problem. The idea can take any form, so it may be low fidelity wireframes, a diagram of a user flow, or just a quick phrase that conveys the idea.
When the time limit is up, have everyone post their ideas on the wall. Again, spend some time looking at each idea and sorting them into groups according to whatever themes you find useful. Be creative in sorting your ideas— you want to clearly identify the key ideas that emerged.
Drawing on the key ideas and themes, discuss with your team the most viable ideas. Raise concerns and talk through them. Prioritize and select which ideas the team should pursue in more detail moving forward. Some form of voting is common at this stage—you can use markers or stickers or let each person weigh in on which ideas should be carried forward or given priority.
I hope these scenarios have helped you visualize what this process can look like and how it can be useful in your UX process. Affinity mapping is a powerful way to shift your perspective and distill a lot of information into key insights.
Start your free UX design course. How to create an affinity map Affinity mapping for synthesizing research Affinity mapping for ideation 1. Why use affinity mapping? How to create an affinity map Affinity mapping has three basic steps.
Individually… Affinity mapping is often thought of as a team sport, but individual affinity mapping can be extremely valuable, too.
Affinity mapping for synthesizing research Two common use cases for affinity mapping are synthesizing qualitative research findings and analyzing ideas in early design ideation. Step 1: Write all your data points on sticky notes Every comment or quotation from each interviewee is a potential data point. Step 2: Group together similar sticky notes Walk up to the wall and grab a sticky note.
Step 3: Extract insights and plan next steps This is the most flexible part of the process. Step 2: Group together similar sticky notes Again, spend some time looking at each idea and sorting them into groups according to whatever themes you find useful. Step 3: Extract insights or patterns and plan next steps Drawing on the key ideas and themes, discuss with your team the most viable ideas.
A final word I hope these scenarios have helped you visualize what this process can look like and how it can be useful in your UX process. What is a user persona?
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There is not only one mode but there is more than one mode. While the Affinity Designer license key allows adding raster brush texture to the illustrations.