Avatar Tips

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Dos and Do Nots

  • Do call them Avatar internally.
  • Don't refer to them as avatars externally. There is much going on about avatars and you want your product to have something unique
  • Don't forget about users who don't like Avatars or prefer to customize them later. Have some available from a predefined library.
  • Do make avatar prompting explicit. Otherwise visitors can feel lost or confused.[1]
  • Don't use realistic or detailed characters. They can become distracting.[2]
  • Do give avatars more then one roles. In venues (such as museums) they are expected to "travel" with the visitor from exhibit to exhibit.[2]
  • Don't put avatars as anything else than supporting role if they are not part of the exhibit [2]
  • Don't forget ownership.[3]

More data on Avatars

  • Avatars must enrich the experience, not to detract from it.
  • 3D detailed avatars are not appealing. Wii Avatars are more appealing to users.[3]
  • Avatars are expected to act according to the environment/context. If the environment or context is realistic, then a realistic behaviour is expected.[3]
  • Usage context matters: Avatars created on PC's do not adjust to different platforms, like mobile devices [3]
  • Avatars follow user's rules and values if there is adoption (from the user).[3]
  • Avatar's name is as important as the avatar itself. Boberg et Al shows there was frustration when avatar’s nickname were unavailable; This demonstrate that the username or avatar name is important in the avatar creation and related to ownership. [3]
  • Bring fun or enjoyment to the user, in order to increase his motivation and further allow identification with the created avatar. [3]


  1. An Evaluation of Virtual Human Technology; Curry Gin, Rob Hubal
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Context Aware Agents to guide Visitors in Museums; Ichiro Satoh
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Designing Avatars, Marion Boberg, Petri Piipo, Elina Ollila