How to Create an Affinity Diagram for UX Research

People doing an affinity diagram with sticky notes

What is an Affinity Diagram?

An affinity diagram is a tool often used to organize data and ideas. Affinity diagrams help you organize information into groups of similar items to then analyze qualitative data or observations.

Business and design teams have used affinity diagrams for a long time to organize ideas, complex information and even customer feedback into themes or groups. For UX researchers, affinity diagrams are often used for analyzing and synthesizing user research findings by patterns and themes. In this case affinity diagrams are sometimes referred to as the KJ method or an affinity map. Also in other broad application like business brainstorming or idea generation it may be called a cluster map.

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 34 with Jason Voiovich on Empathy and Quantitative Data in Marketing and UX

Episode 34 highlights with Jason Voiovich:

  • Jason’s background in marketing and consumerism as well as what led him to become an author on the topics
  • The pitfalls of focusing too much on analytics and quantitative data to understand your customers
  • Why empathy is a key to the future of our work and society
  • Jason’s research about empathy
  • The connection between empathy and burnout… and what you can do about it
  • Doing less to get better results in UX, research and marketing
  • What does it mean to be scientific versus “scientism”?

read more… “Aurelius Podcast: Episode 34 with Jason Voiovich on Empathy and Quantitative Data in Marketing and UX”

Aurelius Podcast: Episode 31 with Hana Nagel on Building Confidence Through User Research in Your Organization

Episode 31 highlights with Hana Nagel:

  • How the President of the United States did “user research” and what you can learn from that in your work as a UX designer, researcher and product maker
  • Doing user research…about user research, so that you can see much more success with your organization adopting a more user centered mindset
  • Focusing on the outcomes of research to create a greater impact with user research at your company
  • Learning the behavior of your teams and company in order to sell user research internally
  • How to empower other teams to do user research themselves in order to scale user research at your company
  • How to turn user research and findings into action and recommendations
  • Giving your team and company confidence in doing the right things

read more… “Aurelius Podcast: Episode 31 with Hana Nagel on Building Confidence Through User Research in Your Organization”

Aurelius Podcast: Episode 29 with Jorge Arango on Design Ethics

Episode 29 highlights with Jorge Arango:

  • The similarities between physical architecture and UX design
  • Tips we can apply from the process of architecture to digital design
  • How to think about physical spaces to inform the digital information spaces you create
  • Feedback loops in digital information spaces
  • How the rate of change in physical buildings vs. digital spaces has changed our expectations as a culture
  • The ways language greatly impact our expectations and design of digital spaces
  • Design ethics in digital places where civic discourse happens and how we as designers can be more mindful in creating them

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 25 with Michelle Fitzpatrick on Product Management and User Research at Intercom

Episode 25 highlights:

  • Product management at Intercom
  • Choosing the right problems to solve for your customers
  • What user research looks like at Intercom
  • How Michelle and the product team at Intercom chooses which projects to work on
  • Where does UX design start and Product Management end?

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 21 with Lou Rosenfeld on DesignOps, ResearchOps and UX

Episode 21 Highlights:

  • Lou’s background, the beginning of the internet and how UX/IA all started
  • The stories behind Lou meeting Tim Berners Lee and Larry Page
  • How Lou started Rosenfeld Media, the UX book publishing company
  • The story of the blind men and the elephant and how it applies to building a great user experience
  • DesignOps, ResearchOps and how Lou began major conferences around those topics
  • Lou’s advice for those of us working in large organizations doing UX design

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 15 with Indi Young discussing Empathy, User Research, Synthesis and Thinking Styles

Episode 15 highlights:

  • Non dominant thinking styles, diversity in product design and user research
  • Difference between problem space research and solutions research and why it matters
  • The concept of “thinking styles” in research and how to apply them in UX design
  • How machine learning and AI can create emergent experiences in the future
  • Different types of empathy (cognitive and emotional), what they are and how to use each one
  • A brilliant, tactical example of how to make sense of what you learn from user research

read more… “Aurelius Podcast: Episode 15 with Indi Young discussing Empathy, User Research, Synthesis and Thinking Styles”

Aurelius Podcast: Episode 17 with Erika Hall on User Research, Collaborating with Stakeholders and Design Culture

Episode 17 highlights:

  • Using research and design to create products and services that are more balanced in the world
  • Where to start helping your company make a bigger impact with user research
  • “Startup” culture and how it can be very unhealthy and unproductive
  • Why some companies still aren’t doing user research (or enough) and how you can help
  • How having shared goals boosts collaboration and creativity

read more… “Aurelius Podcast: Episode 17 with Erika Hall on User Research, Collaborating with Stakeholders and Design Culture”

Aurelius Podcast: Episode 10 with Jeff Patton on Product Discovery and User Research

Episode 10 highlights:

  • What product discovery is and how to do it
  • The wrong way to do user research and how to avoid it
  • A process to make sure you’re building products and features that solve real problems
  • When product discovery starts and ends
  • 4 steps to conducting product discovery
  • The importance, and dangers, confidence level in design or product ideas

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Aurelius Podcast: Episode 13 with Andy Budd on Design Thinking, User Research Insights and Synthesis

Episode 13 highlights:

  • The beginnings of Clearleft
  • How the UX agency to client relationship has changed
  • Designing like a detective
  • Gathering the right evidence to do great UX design
  • The tools and application are of design thinking
  • How to go from research, synthesis and insights into actual design
  • Dangers of “research theater” and how to avoid them
  • Getting past the obvious solutions to create your most brilliant designs

read more… “Aurelius Podcast: Episode 13 with Andy Budd on Design Thinking, User Research Insights and Synthesis”