Tag Archives: affinity diagramming

Spring’15 Class notes: Day 9 – Affinity Diagramming

16 Feb

This class filled the gap between conducting user research and writing personas and scenarios. Once you do your contextual inquiry, interviews, focus groups, etc., what do you do to analyze all that data and come up with personas? One way of working with qualitative data is affinity diagramming.

Affinity diagramming is popular in UX because it is a team activity. It can get buy-in and build empathy for users, because several team members get to handle users’ ideas and quotes from what they said. It is often common to invite members of the technical team to help, so they can get close to users, too.

affinity diagram with post it notesWe spent class time working with some data from your personal profiles and creating affinity diagrams, and persona(s) based on them.

Class summary: Affinity diagramming

11 Feb

After clarifying some questions about how many personas we should create in relation to user groups, we moved on to affinity diagramming.

First, you extracted from the readings a list of DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind when doing affinity diagramming. Here are the most important ones:

About making note cards:


  • put only one concept on each note

  • make each note complete and self standing

  • use color


  • feel restricted

  • limit number of notes

  • be verbose

About working with the team:


  • ake advantage of strengths

  • be open to criticism

  • be organized

  • generate discussion

  • be flexible


  • work alone

  • get stuck on ownership and I’m right

  • get distracted

About grouping notes into clusters:


  • let the data define the groups

  • divide large groups

  • label your clusters


  • give out too many notes out at once

  • be redundant

  • don’t treat labels as fact

After making sense of the data and putting it into clusters, the next step is to see the bigger patterns that result in personas. This is difficult, but I think most groups did a nice job, even with the limited amount of time. Please make sure to read other groups’ personas that were posted on the CN.