Stereotypes vs. archetypes: How to respond to bias, stereotypes, racism, and sexism from clients and participants

2019 Talk


We’ve all been there. The client or research participant shares a stereotype about how users behave, what they think or their skills, based on gender, race, socioeconomic status or profession. In these moments, how can we react properly to not influence the research session, yet still keep a good conscience? How can we present our research results to clients in the face of their bias? While technology and communication are considered great globalizers and unifiers, they often contribute to extreme polarization or reinforcement of existing biases. As designers, we have a responsibility to make sure the technological innovations we design are detached from these biases.

This session will cover context, background, and theory to frame the problem, and then propose practical methods to address these challenges in your next project, including:

– Screening and recruiting research participants considering stereotypes, race, gender, and other potential biases.

– Educating clients to become aware of their own biases and stereotypes, helping them shift towards archetype-thinking.

– What we as designers and researchers can do to recognize and counteract our own privilege, bias and stereotypes.”

About the speaker(s)

Currently Digital UX Manager for Design Group Italia, Julie has over a decade of design and technology experience, including digital services, apps, websites, interactive installations, and even home appliances. Julie is also the Co-Chair of the 2020 edition of Interaction Week, a premier global design conference. A frequent guest lecturer at Domus Academy and NABA in Milan, she has also taught and mentored for General Assembly, Startup Weekend and Girls Who Code. She earned a Master in Interaction Design at Domus Academy in Milan and a B.A. in Government from Claremont McKenna College.