Synthesis Wall

Use a physical wall and post-it notes to debrief the research sessions and cluster important insights

applied for





also called

Insight Mapping, Affinity Mapping, Clustering Map

what is it

The synthesis wall is a key support in the moment of debriefing and analysis of the research outcomes. The team writes down all the relevant notes from the research on single post-it notes, and organize them on the wall in order to start identifying clusters, relevant themes, important insights that can inform and inspire the design process. The wall could be set in a structured way, listing all the notes under each interviewee (helpful to identify personas and transversal patterns), or under each step of the journey (helpful to analyse an experience and its pain points).

use it to

Collaboratively discuss insights and analyse user profiles or experience journeys.

remember to

Define a structure to place the notes on the wall before starting the analysis.

case studies

Vertical Campfires

User research walls as places to connect, gather insights and take inspiration


Creating a synthesis wall with data, materials and observations from user research is a huge contribution to the design process. The wall allows to develop a shared understanding of the research process and outcomes, and it’s beneficial to both team members directly involved in the project and other colleagues just passing by. An example provided by GDS illustrates how they have been using user research walls in many projects, included the design process of Carer’s Allowance. The Carer’s Allowance is a service that enables individuals to claim the caregiver’s allowance online. The research team managed to get to a quicker and easier request process by removing 170 questions (49%) out of the entire form. The wall helped map out all the feedback collected during the research and testing, and reach consensus internally, meeting after meeting.

what is interesting

When working in large teams, it’s very important that the analysis and synthesis process are managed in a way that allows everyone to be on the same page. The user research wall plays a key role in both leading to the identification of patterns and findings, and sharing them with others as insights and ideas develop.

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