Personas or Archetype?

Saurav Harsh
2 min readOct 17, 2023

Personas and Archetypes analyse similar data but use different representation methods. The former focuses on personifying a group of your audience and the latter gives them a label to identify with.

I need to change my habit of relating sincere design concepts with memes.

Hoping everyone’s into pop culture, let’s explore these concepts through iconic characters from stories such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Matrix.

  1. Frodo Baggins: A humble Hobbit, content on his farm, yet destined to embark on a treacherous journey to vanquish the formidable dark force, Sauron.
  2. Luke Skywalker: An unexpected hero hailing from a remote, obscure planet, entrusted with the mission to confront Darth Vader, the chosen one.
  3. Harry Potter: A young boy, concealed beneath a staircase, thrust into the world of wizardry and destined to face the formidable antagonist who shall not be named.
  4. Neo: A reserved programmer and hacker, inquisitive about the enigmatic Matrix, ultimately evolving into the one who can bring peace.

Each of these characters already hints at a possible user persona or behavioral archetype. By knowing their ages, origins, professions, and other specifics, we could readily construct a comprehensive user persona. However, with only surface-level knowledge of these four characters, the best we can do is group them and assign a label, such as
“Unlikely Hero with Humble beginnings”

User Persona

User personas help amalgamate scattered data, insights, and facts into a concise, fictionalized synthesis that encourages empathy when addressing user pain points. They typically encompass:

  • Demographic Information
  • A fictionalized glimpse into their background and personality
  • Responsibilities and Motivations
  • Goals and Pain Points

Behavioural Archetypes

Behavioral archetypes, on the other hand, are templates describing common responses to specific stimuli. They provide a structured model of how users typically react in various scenarios.

The key distinction is that they are usually scenario-based and contextual.

Summary

Take it directly from Page Laubheimer, from his artical on NNgroup.com

Personas and archetypes are functionally the same. They represent the same data and insights about our users’ behaviors, attitudes, goals, and pain points. The difference between them is that personas have a human face, with a name and biographical information, whereas archetypes take the form of an abstraction.

So both user personas and behavioral archetypes are powerful tools to comprehend and connect with your audience. Become a UX nerd by bringing this topic up in your next conversation.

--

--

Saurav Harsh

UX and Communication Designer. Sharing my thoughts and ideas on Design (UXR and UXD), Books (ones that I enjoy reading) and Art (all kinds)