How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?

A: With step 1, going through user’s interview and extracting all the points no matter how big or insignificant they were, record them one by one on same colour post-it helped me and other group members capturing a decent amount of user feedback and observation results faithfully without adding any judgement at this stage, this also guaranteed the efficiency of collecting as many user data as possible.  Then at step 2, we exchanged data and made sure every one in the group understood each other’s findings to then dig into deeper and more fundamental connections or root cause behind those user feedback.   Through the exercise we were able to easily extract and then analyse user data thus to quickly build empathy with our prospective users.

How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?

A: Being able to get immersed in a wall of user data, directly look at them on pieces of paper and physically re-order them around is extremely hands-on in the process of organising data diagram. When we started to identify two user feedback were from same motivation, as soon as we move them together, we would get immediately more related ones to put under that stream.  We often got inspired when looking at one clustering of findings to realise it could be the cause of another pain-point, the connection of which we didn’t think of before. Thus the big chaos wall of user data getting more clear, we felt the users’ needs were well understood in this way.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique?

A: A time consuming part of a group affinity diagram building is to understand other people’s notes.    Another challenge is to look deeper into the fundamental links among those findings instead of stay at the surface and group the findings with obvious connections.

How would you do it better next time?

A: Write notes with icons and symbols to make them more understandable in later brainstorming/analysing session by other group members.  Spend time before hand to get to know background information of the given topic/industry/business thus to be able to generate better ideas and think deeper.