Affinity Diagram

Affinity diagrams are diagrams used as a next stage from brainstorming. It takes ideas that were generated through the brainstorming process and starts organizing them into categories for easier processing. Cards, stickies or pieces of paper are often used for this process, as it is easy to move things around when needed.

It is the preferred stage after brainstorming because it is a simple process and is effective in organizing ideas that might be all over the place after a brainstorming session. While it is an easy process, it can take a while to get used to as it might be difficult to get the right amount of categories without going too detailed and having too many or being too simple and having too little.

Examples of affinity diagrams:

external image card%202.jpg
Taken from http://www.chitaly.org/index.php?page=abstract-tutorial

external image AffinityEE1.jpg
Taken from http://www.sapdesignguild.org/resources/glossary_usab/index.htm

An Affinity Diagram is particularly useful:

• In generating a sizable amount of ideas, concepts or perspectives and groups those components that are naturally related.
• Recognizing an identity for each group of concepts. This helps to tie themes together.
• When chaos exists.
• When working large volumes of ideas with a team of people.
• When a breakthrough in ideas is needed.
• In fostering creativity. Assembling an affinity diagram is a creative rather than logical process. This promotes good participation as it allows people to play a part in the development process.


"Affinity Diagrams in HCI." chitaly. 21 Jan 2008.
<http://www.chitaly.org/index.php?page=abstract-tutorial>

"SAP Usability Glossary." SAP Design Guild. 18 Jan 2008.
<http://www.sapdesignguild.org/resources/glossary_usab/index.htm>

"Using Affinity Diagrams to make sense from Brainstorming." Leanyourcompany.com. 21 Jan 2008.
<http://www.leanyourcompany.com/methods/Using-Affinity-Diagrams.asp>

"Affinity Diagrams for Excel." BaRan Systems. Feb 2003. <http://www.baran-systems.com/New/Products/Affinity_Diagram_For_Excel/index.htm>