6 Questions + Card Decks — A Brainstorming Method

A simple UX brainstorming method that proved to be very useful


Me and my project teammates were working on finding solutions for a unique population set at a large company — chemical engineers and researchers. After all the user research and understanding their needs, it was time for us to brainstorm for solutions.

The problem space turned out to be rather broad, and we had to go the divide and conquer route. We broke it into chunks. It is often easy to account for the big problems, but requires a lot more conscious effort to iron out the smaller issues. The method described here helps you add more to seemingly obvious solutions.

The Brainstorming Cards Deck

We used a brainstorming card deck that was available with us from some previous projects. It has cards with a picture and a topic of interest. If its relevant to the project, we use it for brainstorming ideas on that topic.

A sample card that acts as a prompt for brainstorming
Another sample card

You need not necessarily have a card deck ready. You can create your own with some common and relevant paradigms — and you can re-use them in different projects.

The 6 Questions

Asking good open ended questions helps generate good ideas. Here are the 6 questions that you should be asking:

  1. What
  2. Why
  3. How
  4. Who
  5. Which
  6. When

These questions help address the “adjectives” for each solution as you come up with them. This will become a little more clear as you read below.

Combine these two together

This is what it looks like. The card, with the 6 questions around it.

Setup the card and the 6 questions as shown in the image. In the example above, the card says “With direct coworker(s)”. So as we go around the questions, many ideas pop up.

  • What interactions happens with direct co-workers?
  • Why do they happen?
  • How do they interact?

Here is another example:

Take each relevant card and ask these questions.

You get the drift. Of course, most of the questions would be answered with the data available from user research. You might notice some things are missing, and you could clarify them before moving on.

This way helps generate a lot of ideas, and provides solid reasoning behind why you made the decisions you did.

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