Skip to content

Recognizing Patterns

Time 45 min
Participants Group (max 4 people)

Recognizing patterns

You’ve collected a lot of data, eg. from interviews, observations and tests, and now you need to structure your knowledge and identify patterns that cover key themes so your data can be communicated clearly. The method is valuable because it is based on, and maintains, what has been observed in the real world. This method works from the bottom up and is based both on the users’ statements and your own observations. It allows you structure these observations to find patterns and themes in the data that ideas can be generated from.


  1. Share central observations from meeting the user or client with the others in the group. You can use both direct quotes or select clips from recorded interviews. If you have photos from the field, print them and put them up. Direct quotes are put under: “What we heard” and observations under “What we saw“
  2. Sum up – maximum 10 minutes for each user. Other members of the group take notes on post-its, eg. analytical statements and perspectives that occur to them during the presentation. These post-its are put under the poster prior to the next presentation.
  3. As a group, observe statements, observations and conclusions across the board. The points that overlap themes, are placed together. Give the pattern a thematic headline, which sums up a main conclusion.

At the end of the exercise, you should be left with at least three main conclusions.


  • A3 poster [download and print below]
  • Felt-tip pens
  • Post-its

Can’t get enough of design and innovation? We hear you. And we have you covered.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest from our world delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the ddc newsletter


Bryghuspladsen 8
BLOX, 2. floor
1473 Copenhagen
CVR 3699 4126


Dyrehavevej 116
Design School Kolding
6000 Kolding
CVR 3699 4126

Unless otherwise stated, all content on this website is presented under the Creative Commons Attribution License.