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What is affinity mapping in UX?

ACHONWA ALVAN

Overview

User experience research can be broad and open-ended most times due to the participation of several team members. Affinity mapping is one way to make good use of the findings in the user research process.

Affinity mapping

Affinity mapping is a singular process of gathering all user information obtained through a qualitative study. The process includes usability testing, surveys, observing users, and organizing the results on paper cards or sticky notes where we can arrange the ideas into tallying themes. The aim is to turn every piece of information into a singular, actionable visual idea.

The affinity mapping process

The need for affinity mapping

We use affinity mapping in a design case with multiple ideas for solving a singular problem. We can also use it when a case study is highly complex. The affinity mapping process helps generate a useful, actionable idea from a brainstorming session.

Steps in affinity mapping

  1. Identify each idea by writing them on sticky notes or cards: The affinity mapping process begins with writing down a list of possible solutions for a design case study. Every design team member can participate in this study and write their ideas on note papers used for the process.
  2. Arrange correlating ideas side by side: Arrange similar ideas into groups. By doing so, we ensure that no idea is left alone since each idea may have a pair for the design solution.
  3. Have a discussion session with your team on the ideas: In this stage, we name each sorted category. There's a heading given to each group, and the team agrees to this action.
  4. Merge ideas where necessary: At this point, when ideas have the same process as each other, we merge them. The aim is to streamline the various groups of ideas to find the varying solution paths. These paths are now used to give the best design solution process to the product.

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