Lets say you have a website that has absolutely no social interactions between the users, your users usually visit the site to use different tools they get offered by being a member or read up on different topics regarding their daily working-life. If there is interaction with different people its usually just the support team if they have any questions or need advice.

Right now we have a website that displays the logo, the navigation, a search function and the name of the user with a link to his account informations.

I am currently redesigning the header and one of my first thoughts was to give users the possibility to upload personal avatars to the site which then get displayed in the header next to their name after they logged in.

Of course i would provide neutral default avatars if they don't want to upload a picture and it would not be mandatory.

Right now i am asking myself what the benefits would be, what does the user gain from that option? Customisation is important and gives a nice vibe/feel, but what other selling points would you point out if you would have to pitch this in front of other people? And more important, are there any possible disadvantages regarding UX?

3 Answers 3


A few points as to why I have used them in the past:

  1. As you say, a good vibe and feel using customisation.

  2. Personalisation. It lets the user add a sprinkle of character to their information/profile, it lets them have their own little imprint on it. Which in turn...(point 3).

  3. It makes us feel good. Users are able to put the photos of their kids or partners in there, choose their own avatar that represents them etc. A wallet has a photo area in them, we can use if for our driving licence but more often thats not the case, its a nicety that makes us feel good. Its a good feeling thats brought on when someone is using your product when they see the photo.

  4. Control. It gives them more sense of control over their account which is always a nice feeling.

  5. It may show users (or make them feel) that the company doesn't just think they are a number or name, they are more than that. Its a face to a name.


Personalization is a selling point. The possible UX pitfall is getting people to upload a profile image. People don't want to do more work and neutral avatars aren't going to fit in with your concept of customization.

How about using gravatars? Or initials?

  • Since our user base is on the "older" site (like 30+) gravatar is not really an option. I thought about using initials for the default option while stil offer the option to upload a personal picture. Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 7:52
  • You could grab their social media avatar, assuming your site allows for that.
    – Ling
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 20:07

With an avatar, the user space is more "my own space".

It could be nice to display it as an icon to the user's space I.e.

If any interaction with support or any other real people, avatars will make it more lively.

Avatars are very important. Unless you have no user to user interaction and no user space.

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