Woman sorting post it notes on a whiteboard

Word Concept Association

Word Concept Association is a group brainstorm for terms and phrases that describe an existing product, its interface elements, and its interactions in the context of the design problem it is attempting to address. Descriptive terms encourage participants to discuss their understanding of user perceptions and product goals. The purpose of the exercise is to create a consensus on design priorities and identify potential design problems.

Description

Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Time for Preparation: 1 Hour
  • Time for Testing: 1 Hour
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • A set of products for comparison
  • A whiteboard or post-it notes

Carry Out This Method

  1. Assemble a group of 4-8 users of your product or users of a direct competitor. One participant should act as facilitator, and one should be the historian and take notes.
  2. Ask the group to use post-it notes to write adjectives, keywords, or key phrases that describe your product in terms of the problems it tries to solve for users.
  3. Have the historian cluster these descriptions together, leaving room for more groups of post-it notes.
  4. Have the group either think about or look at competitive products or alternative designs.
  5. Ask the group write, on new post-it notes, these products in terms of the design problem.
  6. Have the historian cluster these descriptions by the design or product they describe.
  7. As facilitator, lead a discussion about features and functionalities for the sites participants have viewed, referring to their word clusters for preference and value.
  8. Once the session is complete, compile a prioritized list of design elements and potential design problems.

Try These Tips

  • Encourage humor. This makes participants more comfortable with giving honest critiques.
  • Make sure all participants’ views are heard.

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