Common uses


The following uses of cards are referred to as openers or randomizers. They fall under the category of divergent activities and involve basic motions such as shuffling, dealing, drawing and flipping cards. These activities encourage ideation, learning and discovery and are best used at the early stages of a SXD project or workshop.

Shuffle & draw

Test your and your team’s SXD knowledge

Deal & flip

Use in a workshop as an icebreaker or discussion starter


Once familiar with the basic, common-sense uses of card motions we move into exploration activities. These sense-making activities look for commonality and patterns between the cards we have selected and include a combination of sorting, stacking, grouping, ranking, sequencing, comparing and combining cards. These cognitive activities encourage group engagement to play, learn and diagnose outcomes.

Sort & stack

Sort select cards and stack into preferred piles

Stack & rank

Stack cards into piles and rank in terms of priority

Rank & group

Prioritize cards and group into activity batches

Group & compare

Group based on activity and compare to prioritize.

Compare & combine

Compare cards and with related or unrelated combinations to generate new ideas.

Combine & timeline

Combine cards and place them in a exploration or project itinerary.


Upon the completion of the decision activities above, the next step is to take your accomplishments and make last minute structural adjustment before sharing your findings.
This convergent activity is about refining your decisions down to a clear and conscience format, presentable to your colleagues, team, group, client and/or stakeholders.

Detailed Examples

The following are depictions SXD cards in action. These examples can be used individually, 1-to-1, within a group or workshop environment.

Materials required:

  • Sticky note pads
  • Color markers
  • Pen/pencils
  • Sticky tape
  • Colored dot stickers
  • Sticky tack
  • Stop watch


  1. Select one or more cards.
  2. Use sticky tape or tack to place card(s) on wall, whiteboard or table, ensuring ample space between each card.
  3. Ensure you and/or your group have colored sticky notes and writing materials.
  4. If required, with your group, decide on color categories to separate out brainstorming themes.
  5. Ask open questions for each category such as; ‘why would I/we use this particular method – pros and cons?’.
  6. If the activity is time boxed, use a stopwatch, allow participants to silently list their responses on sticky notes within an allocated time.
  7. Time’s up! Now everyone clusters and posts their ideas next to the corresponding card.
  8. Next, select a decision card motion (below) to refine your brainstorming further.


[illustration - pending]
  1. Have a predetermined process for multiple projects? First, vertically list the cards in order from start to finish. Then, using sticky tape, place them on a wall or whiteboard.
  2. Next, title your project on a sticky note and have your opponent do the same.
  3. Place your project title to the top left of the vertical cards, while your opponent does the same to top right.
  4. Now, using a stopwatch and sticky notes, list and align all your ideas, insights or questions to the left of each card. Your opponent would do the same to the right side of the cards.
  5. Provide feedback to each other and refine your list further.


[illustration - pending]
  1. During the discover phase you will identify cards that relate to your project.
  2. During the decision phase you would have prioritized or arranged these cards into a suitable order.
  3. Use sticky tape to place an A4 page on a wall, whiteboard or simply use the table with butchers paper if in a group.
  4. Place these cards in the center of an A4 page.
  5. Take notes of all the items and/or materials with regards to your project’s status.


  1. Once you have identified your personas, display them on a wall or whiteboard
  2. Move through the SXD Card deck and consider which methods would be suitable for each persona.
  3. Place the card(s) next to the persona and use sticky notes to record any thoughts, tally votes or define further.


[illustration - pending]
  1. Use sticky notes or the category cards; Strategy and Usability Testing to represent the start and end points of the project.
  2. Complete the gap in between using sticky notes, highlighting any important milestones, phases or dates.
  3. Place or cluster cards at suitable points along the timeline.


[illustration - pending]
  1. Use sticky to represent extreme opposing points. These could be bad/good, slow/fast, low cost/high cost, easy/hard, necessary/unnecessary etc.
  2. Provide context and prepare guiding questions to the group.
  3. Discuss with your group and arrange cards along with scale.


  1. Select any number of activity or method cards from the deck.
  2. Place cards on a wall or whiteboard, using sticky tape or sticky tack, ensure ample space between each card.
  3. Add your thoughts to sticky notes with titles and/or brief descriptions.
  4. Continue to add ideas to notes and add them next to each card.


[illustration - pending]
  1. Use a whiteboard to create two or more columns. Use sticky notes to title each column, ie ‘in scope’, ‘out of scope’ and ‘further exploration’, ‘maybe’ or ‘not applicable’.
  2. Place cards within the appropriate sections.
  3. Discuss with your team or conduct in silence and discuss rationale after.
  4. Anything the team or group cannot agree on will be placed in further exploration/maybe section and addressed at a later point.


  1. Place all nominated cards in a row – on a table, whiteboard or wall.
  2. Team and group members can silently place their vote using sticky notes, colored dot stickers or whiteboard marker.
  3. Participants can also use numbers to rank and prioritize their vote if multiple options exist.
  4. The facilitator can tally the vote and seek clarification, is required.

Task management

  1. Sort all selected cards into a linear sequence.
  2. Lay each card flat or stick to a wall or whiteboard.
  3. Add your tasks, thoughts or descriptions on each sticky note as they arise.
  4. List sticky notes directly underneath each card. Prioritize if necessary.
  5. Remove completed tasks.

Scrum task board

  1. Create five column titles; story (or backlog), to-do, in process, to verify and done. Use a whiteboard or sticky notes if on a wall.
  2. Based on the stories, identify which cards will represent specific or a cluster of tasks within the backlog.
  3. Place the cards, from high priority at the top through to low priority at the bottom, within backlog column.
  4. As you undertake each activity, reallocate each card to reflect the status of any progress.