I'm not a UX designer by profession but I am currently working on something that requires a lot of considerations of usability. Currently, I'm trying to implement an avatar system that users will see but I want to make sure that it does not produce disproportionate effects on user responses to them. Specifically, I have designed some animal based avatars but I was wondering if there are any known results about any possible gender differences in responses to avatars that may be overly "cute"? Thanks for any responses.
Many popular websites have stopped working hard on Avatars.
They might just play around with their logo designs and put them as default profile picture
For example Slack.
Facebook still uses gender-specific default images as they have their own reasons for that.
Two metrics to decide how much work you need to put in avatar profiling:
1. Your project
2. Your audience
Clearing up the scenario more :
If your product touches the social aspect, then just follow FB like approach because anyways your audience will be replacing the default avatar with their own pictures.
If you product is technical and users don't really care about display pictures then Slack like approach is interesting.
The user acceptance of default avatar types depends solely on your target audience. If you know who your users are, you can decide whether or not the use of animals is appropriate and matching context. If cute animal avatars make sense from a branding and/or usage perspective (like an animal adoption app) it is perfectly appropriate, even with both men and women using your application. Cute isn't gender specific after all. Which leads to my question: why did you decide to make animal-based avatars in particular?
If you are unsure who your users are or whether the use of animal avatars is appropriate, you should stick to more neutral grounds. This is why apps with a broad user base tend to generate abstract avatars. Slack for example, uses color and lines to generate avatars which are neither male or female in nature. A smart move, because the application is used by a wide variety of people. Avatars are personal, and not everyone will appreciate 'silly' branding.