I used to think my frustration with open office plans meant that something was wrong with me.
Everyone seemed so bought into the hype about how open layouts create transparency and collaboration. Reducing physical barriers felt so symbolic and positive. No one wanted to argue against these ideals. I, too, wanted transparency and collaboration.
So when I’d have a hard time focusing, I’d tell myself that I just had to try harder. When a coworker would tell me how great it is to be able to randomly tap anyone on the shoulder, I’d nod quietly and retreat to my headphones…
In a world that is increasingly digital, human connections are as likely to happen online as offline. Social apps play a crucial role in society’s evolving norms around identity, and one component of this is the imagery used to represent individual users on various platforms, generally known as avatars.
Since this is a favorite subject of mine, I decided to create an all-in-one guide to better avatars. This article covers some common missteps, shows why good avatar design matters, and lays out real-world examples of better avatars in action.