Agile UX – Affinity Diagramming


Need some help organizing ideas, content, or product features? Go ahead and leverage insight from your customers and/or stakeholders with affinity diagramming or card sorting. Utilize this method for directional insight on navigational structures.

or Use the following guidelines to help facilitate sessions. Adjust as needed.


  • Arrange a meeting of participants with the relevant expertise that will last one to two hours
  • Provide agenda with time and topic


  • Provide instruction – explain the process to the participants
  • Allow participants to create their own items on sticky notes as a brainstorming activity when working with open or un-defined systems
  • Ask participants to stick the notes on the board, close to any other notes on a similar topic
  • Rapidly group notes that seem to belong together – It isn’t important to define why they belong together
  • Copy notes into in more than one set if appropriate
  • Clarify any notes in question
  • Allow all participants to contribute
  • Pay constant attention. Otherwise, you may lose touch with what is happening, and it may be difficult to regain an understanding of the data structure
  • Identify if large sets need to be broken down more precisely
  • Identify if small sets should belong in larger groups
  • Once consensus has been reached on groupings, name each group. Use different colored sticky notes if possible
  • Groupings are arbitrary – be flexible in how you use the data


  • Encourage participants to place one note at a time
  • Encourage participants to read notes aloud while placing them on the surface


  • Do not allow a given participant to take control of positioning and moving the notes
  • Do not move someone’s note without his or her agreement. Discussion will often indicate that the participant wanted to articulate a different issue
  • Do not allow the activity to continue past the point of tiredness or boredom
  • Avoid having more than two consecutive sessions during a workshop