Thank you, Mathias. There are, indeed, plenty of exercises related to archetypes that positively impact empathy. One is to take archetypes and tell stories about people who represent them, and to see how these people react to your offering (I usually use the archetypes from the book “Archetypes in branding” — they work very well). I also ask our research participants to choose archetypes they see themselves in and we design from the archetypical perspective.

Also with one of my clients we are now building archetypes for their business. We want to choose a number of dimensions that are relevant for that particular business and construct the archetypes around these dimensions. Then we plan to make cards out of them and use them for internal workshops.

One last thing I often do is to build aspiration maps for the different archetypes (stemming from our user research). I use the elements of psychographics like the lifestyle, aspirations, etc. to do so. It’s a new take on the empathy map :) I think I should write about it soon :D

but what is super crucial to remember is that archetypes (like personas) are just another stereotypical way to look at customers. They are only powerful as long as your team remembers that they can’t replace design research and running studies with real people. They just help organize it in a better manner. And help to empathize based on the common notions we accept as our joint reference point.



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