Affinity Maps


An affinity map is the result of a brainstorming process whereby participants organize their ideas by grouping them along a set of descriptive pairs. Example:
Boring <--> Interesting, Expensive <--> Low Cost.
Sometimes called affinity diagrams.

Other creative thinking formats:
Mind maps, concept maps, rich picture, process flows, flow charts.


  • Interactive
  • Iterative
  • Helps participants identify common themes
  • Allows participants/designers to plot actual to desired


  • Creative thinking
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Brainstorming
  • Design
  • User surveys


  • Some occlusion of data occurs when items overlap or obscure each other.
  • Relies on subjective data and not objective observation of behavior.
  • Perceived lack of focus
  • Perceived lack of details