52 UX Cards to Discover Cognitive Biases

A few weeks ago, Laurence Vagner (with a V) and I gave a workshop in Paris Web. The theme was “cognitive biases”. We had already gave this workshop in English for our UX in Lux community in Luxembourg. For the French version of the workshop, we created a 52 UX cards deck to help people discover and understand different cognitive biases. This card deck is now available in English as well.

Cognitive biases are psychological thought mechanisms and tendencies that cause the human brain to draw incorrect conclusions. For better or worse, you can use them in many different ways to influence user behaviour in your products and services. These biases will also impact collaboration between team members and during meetings or might influencer your user research. Whether you are creating the user experience of an interfaces or purchasing something online, it’s interesting to be aware of these biases.

** Si vous souhaitez une version française des cartes elle est disponible ici **

A deck of 52 Cognitive Bias UX Cards

The list of cognitive biases is long and might look downright frightening for many people. To make this easier to digest, Laurence and I selected 52 out of the list and organized them into 5 categories:

  • Decision-making & behaviour
  • Thinking & problem solving
  • Memories & recalling
  • Interview & user testing
  • Team work, social & meetings

The icons for those categories come from Streamline, in case you where wondering 🙂

the cards printed

These cards were created  for teaching and learning purposes. They help team members become aware of their own biases and the different biases they can induce, whether on purpose or not, to users.  They can also be used as a cheat sheet and as “reminder cards” while designing. You can use them in small workshops with your coworkers to raise awareness among your team.

We have decided to publish the cards  under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license (Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International). You have to give attribution everytime you use them and mention “Created by Stéphanie Walter and Laurence Vagner” (if possible put a link to this article). You can print them directly on both sides. You can use them to facilitate free workshops. You are NOT allowed to sell them. And you are not allowed to use them in workshop or teaching classes if you make any money out of this (this is a commercial use). For that kind of use, please contact us.

English version

You can get the English version of the cards here:

Download the 52 cognitive bias UX cards

Spanish Cards

We also now have a Spanish version of the cards. Spanish translation of the cards was created by Helena Feliu from Duit Studio

Download Spanish version of the cards

An online list to help you

If you do not want the paper version, we have also prepared an online list. You can even add it as shortcut on your phone, yeahy. (I might eventually turn this into a PWA and have it work offline)

Online list of 52 selected biases

For more biases, you can visit the full list of biases extracted from Wikipedia. Kudos to Geoffrey for the code of those pages.

The Workshop

You will find the workshop process in the slides above and a short explanation on page 3 of the PDF. You can consult the presentation support of our workshop (the English version in Luxembourg, not the French one) here:

Some pictures of the workshop

Here are some pictures of our cards and participants working very hard to sell us a unicorn with as much bias as possible.

Participants working with the cards to sell us a Unicorn
Another group of participants

The online version of the workshop

Due to the health situation, we also now have a online version of the workshop in an “online” version on miro

Screenshot of the workshop in Miro

The workshop steps are the same. We have 2 phases. A first discovery phase where we ask people to describe and relate to some of the biases. Another phase where we ask them to build the most evil experience possible. On top of that, we add a small icebreak at the beginning of the session. This helps people not used to tools like Miro (or Mural of Figjam) discover those without too much pressure.

We of course finish again with the discussion on ethics.

For more details about the online version of the workshop:

How to Facilitate a Remote Workshop on Cognitive Biases

More cards, inspiration and resources

If you want to go further here a few resources:

Create your own workshop

The cards are open source and the protocol for the workshop is in the cards, so don’t hesitate to replicate the workshop for your company / local events and send us some pictures.


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