Affinity Mapping

Brainstorming often involves creating an affinity diagram, a process that helps with collaboration amongst teams, and identifies patterns; bringing to surface what we know and want to know about a subject matter; in this case, new hires.

Sticky Notes

Mapping ideas on sticky notes is an easy way to see the big picture. Concepts, knowledge, terms, processes, anything that contributes to the sum of its parts. When thoughts are laid out on movable post-it notes, it allows for ideas to be interchangeable. Biased opinions are put aside, opening a door for communication. By classifying thoughts into columns; patterns, norms, and priorities become present.

This technique is more successful if collaboration is amongst co-workers and cross-functional teams, such as; myself as the UX Researcher/Facilitator, Business Analyst; Service Delivery Managers, Content Specialists and Product Owners.

The process required many sharpies and sticky notes. Quantitative data, such as; terms frequently searched, applications and page visits were pulled from Google Analytics to help kick off the brainstorming session.


Affinity mapping was the beginning of many UX Research methods used to understand new hires, such as; surveys, personas, A/B testing, usability tests and card sorting.