Analyze Data and Find Insights... using storytelling and visual diagramming

The Affinity Diagram helps the team analyze the data gathered from interviews. By using a storytelling approach, team members who haven’t been to the interviews get a better understanding of each user’s pain points, motivations and needs.


Make sense of the data in the form of stories and visual connections


Designers, Business Leads


45 - 90 minutes



Before You Start

Conduct user interviews
The Affinity Diagramming method is recommended for analyzing interviews. You can prepare and conduct user interviews with the following method:

Interview Preparation Guide

Materials you will need

If you are running a physical workshop, you need post-its and whiteboards or brownpaper. Affinity diagrams from interview results tend to grow large, so make sure you have sufficient whiteboard space available.

Templates for Virtual Collaboration

(Registration to MURAL is required)


Affinity diagramming includes several steps. We recommend completing them in one session.
  • 10 - 20 minutes

Retell the interview

The notetaker of each interview retells the interview. While the notetaker is telling the story, the other participants note down the findings on post-its.

  • 15 - 25 minutes

Sort by similarity

Once the storytelling ends, copy the interview findings from each of the interviewees and start sorting them by similarity.

  • 10 - 20 minutes

Describe each cluster in detail

Give each a name and summary that describe the key insight and what you learned about the challenge in this cluster.

  • 5 - 15 minutes

Review the clusters

Once you have all the clusters, review them and see if the cluster names are specific and actionable enough. Adjust them accordingly.

  • 5 -10 minutes

Prioritize the clusters

You can prioritize the clusters by voting on them as a group or by using the Value Heatmap method.

This board will potentially grow large. Adjust the lines and sizes of the board as needed.
Make sure the clusters are named as early as possible. The names and the content can always be changed. Avoid clusters with more than seven insights. You can layer the same information on top of each other to help declutter. Don’t delete same or similar information mentioned from different interviews, as you want to see if several interviewees had the same or similar insights.

You're done!

The team now hopefully has a good understanding of each user’s pain points, motivations and needs. This may be used as input for creating the Persona(s).