What’s affinity mapping?
Affinity mapping allows you to document your understanding of objects easily. It removes ambiguity so that you can make better decisions and move forward in a way that is good for your career, your clients, and yourself.
Designers use affinity mapping to organize information and better understand their target audience. This allows them to build a product or feature that resonates with them.
Affinity mapping, like other processes, can help make your design process more efficient. This is one way to make the most of your research. You can create an affinity diagram or affinity map to identify areas where users are making mistakes and how they navigate the process. This allows you to identify which pages users use most often, which ones they avoid and what usability issues need to be fixed. Another form of process mapping is affinity mapping.
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What’s an affinity diagram?
A cluster map is also called an affinity diagram. It is used to organize information. Affinity diagrams help organize information into similar items, especially when analyzing qualitative data or observations.
Understanding your users’ needs is difficult when it comes to UX. There are many sources to gather customer feedback or insights beyond usability tests. These include support tickets, chats with customer service, interviews, and more. This information is not reduced to a number or statistic that can then be compared against a KPI. It can be challenging to make qualitative data actionable, let alone ambiguous.
An affinity diagram is a tool that allows design, research, product, and marketing teams to combine qualitative data from multiple sources into one visual. You can modify each step to suit your style and needs.
- Stick each idea or data point on a sticky note and write it down.
- Take out sticky notes one at a time and make clusters of related notes.
- Discuss the themes and categories you have created and how they impact the next steps.
Why is affinity mapping so crucial for UXresearch?
When working on a new product, it is important to remember that your customers are the essential aspect of your business. Customers want to have a great experience with your product or service. Understanding them is the best way for you to do that.
An affinity diagram helps you better understand your customers’ needs. This research will allow you to organize your market research and user interviews to identify areas needing improvement and create a plan.
Affinity Mapping to Organize Your UX Research
Let’s say you are a UX researcher and have conducted interviews with users to determine your product’s future and current needs. After talking to the user, you have taken detailed notes. These steps will help you to connect everything and identify patterns.
1. Hold a brainstorming session
An affinity map is made after gathering ideas. Write down the problem or question you are trying to solve at the top of your whiteboard. Next, jot down individual ideas using sticky notes. This is about getting as many ideas as possible out of your mind in your notebook. It takes a lot of effort to create affinity diagrams.
2. Sticky notes are a great way to record all of the details
Remember that your goal is to stick as many sticky notes on the wall as possible. However, the more sticky notes you place on the wall, the harder it will be to sort them. It is essential to balance the time and notes you collect.
Each piece of information an interviewee gives is a potential data point. Keep everything organized by looking at your notes. Write down any important information.
3. Sticky notes can be organized
Take a sticky note and read it. Pin it in one location. Read another note and make sure it is related to the original. If it is, place the second note next the first. If not, move on and create a new cluster. If you are working with a group, set a time frame and work together to categorize the data.
There should be at least three to ten groups you can group based on common themes. Your team or you should not decide on categories prior to the brainstorming session. Your ideas should be organized and emerge naturally.
How to use the template of an affinity diagram for a UX research organization?
Import data from UX research
Create a virtual sticky to capture your thoughts for each data point. When multiple people collaborate on research, you can work simultaneously and give each person a place where they can record their observations.
Search for patterns and sort by theme
Ask your team members to organize your sticky notes into groups. Each member of your team should make connections among the data points.
Name the groups
Discuss the similarities between sticky notes and each other, then name each one.
To vote on each category’s priority and value as well as their impact on the business, use Freehand reactions (animated emoticons to give feedback in real-time)
Add any video, photo, or other content that supports each group’s theme. After your mapping session is over, add each piece to the Freehand.
Your team will be better equipped to combine your UX research into a deeper understanding of your data.
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Affinity Map for Ideation
Let’s take a look at the second stage of the design process, where we will use the same tool to organize and gather ideas. The same scenario can be used above.
The research synthesis revealed that users’ most excellent pain point was not being able to notify the delivery man about any changes they wanted to make to their deliveries. The UX team is then invited to a brainstorming session to identify the features that will solve the problem.
Step 1: Sticky notes are your best friend!
The design team should be given a time limit of around 5 minutes to sketch or write their ideas. Each idea should be written on an individual sticky note or index card. You can write any type of idea, including low-fidelity wireframes or user flow diagrams. Or just a short phrase to convey the idea. Ask everyone to post their ideas once the time has expired.
Step 2: Combine similar sticky notes
Spend time looking at each idea carefully and then sort them into categories or groups based on the themes you find most useful. Sort your ideas creatively and identify the most critical ideas.
Step 3: Take the insights or patterns you have uncovered and use them to plan your next steps
Talk to the design team about the best ideas based on the drawings. You must raise any concerns you have and discuss them with the design team. You can prioritize and choose the ideas the design team would like to pursue in greater detail. Vote and stickers can be used to decide which ideas should be prioritized or carried forward.
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