“Nice to see you virtually”: Thoughtful design and evaluation of virtual avatar of the other user in AR and VR based telexistence systems

Minna Pakanen*, Paula Alavesa, Niels van Berkel, Timo Koskela, Timo Ojala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper presents two studies investigating how physically remote telexistence users wish to see other users visualized as virtual avatars in a) augmented reality, and b) immersive virtual reality while conducting a collaborative task. To answer this research question, a telexistence system was designed and implemented with simple avatar designs. After that, visual examples of alternative avatar representations for both use cases were designed by thoughtfully altering the visual parameters of 36 virtual avatar examples. The avatar designs were first evaluated in a user study with 16 participants in conjunction with using an implemented telexistence system. As a follow-up an online survey with 43 respondents was used to record their preferences regarding virtual avatar appearance. The results suggest that users prefer the other user to be represented in a photorealistic full-body human avatar in both augmented reality and virtual reality due to its humanlike representation and affordances for interaction. In augmented reality, the choice for a hologram full body avatar was also popular due to its see-through appearance, which prevents a mix-up with a real person in the physical space.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100457
JournalEntertainment Computing
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all the participants of the user study and respondents of the survey. This research was supported by the COMBAT project [ 293389 ] funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland , the Open Innovation Platform of Six City Strategy project [ A70202 ] and the Open City Model as Open Innovation Platform project ( A71143 ) funded by the ERDF . This work has been partially funded also by the European Commission grant PRINCE ( 815362 ) and the Business Finland funded project Reboot Finland IoT Factory 33/31/2018 , supported by Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship ( 318927 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Augmented reality
  • Survey
  • Telexistence
  • User study
  • Virtual avatar
  • Virtual reality


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