Customizable avatars for a health information system: An exploratory design



In this demonstration, we exhibit a prototype of our consumer health-oriented work (e.g., Clayman, E. W. Boberg, & Makoul, 2008) on an interactive system for people managing complex health regimes for themselves and others, such as their children, parents, or grandparents. A key component in this project is the opportunity for the user to customize a number of health avatars that can be used to represent the different people whose health information is under management. In our initial designs, we have explored a range of opportunities for customization, including gender, age, weight, skin colour, ability, and a spectrum of physical representation from “silhouette” to “cartoon” to “realistic”. These variations may be familiar to users of the system who have some experience with electronic games or virtual worlds, since avatar customization is increasingly common in those areas. We have, however, also provided a somewhat extended range of possibilities by including avatars in wheelchairs or with missing limbs.