Understanding HCI

Affinity Diagramming

What is Affinity Diagramming?

Why Use it

This process can be used to categorise the data from usability testing.

Participants Needed

Task List

  • Observers go through their notes and identify unsolved issues they believe are most important
  • They write those issues (5 approx), one per card, onto cards or sticky notes
  • Tape all cards to wall in random order
  • Everyone reads all the cards
  • A person who discovers a card that covers the same issue as one of their own is allowed to remove their own card
  • If people think of additional issues they are allowed to add cards
  • Sort cards into groups without discussion
  • If someone disagrees with how a group has been set up, they should simply move the cards
  • Look for large groups that could be subdivided
  • Look for small groups that have the same theme
  • Keep the process going until no further changes are made. A solo card or two is ok
  • Each participant has the opportunity to name each group with sticky notes. The name should reflect the theme of the group
  • If you get to a group that had a name you agree with, there is no need to create a duplicate
  • Individually, write down the name of the three most important groups – the ones that would have the greatest impact on the next release
  • Put an X on the sticky of your third choice, a XX on your second choice and XXX on your first choice
  • Prioritise groups according to amount of XXXs
  • Check consensus with discussion
  • Discuss any dissenting views
  • Start at the top of the priority list and discuss each category in turn, in terms of observations, insights, solutions & proposals.

Conditions required


Limitations Of method