Avatars instead of smileys

I had an idea today. How nice it would be to have changing avatars in the instant messaging conversation, instead of smiley faces. Smiley faces are the greatest thing since beer and sausages German style. But they’ve outlived themselves. They still work pretty good in plain text communications, but when it comes to applications that substitute text smiles into graphical images – that’s where I think we need more innovation.

Most of the applications that use graphical smileys – email clients, forums, instant messaging clients – support avatars. But so far, I’ve seen only support for a single avatar.

What I think would be better is to have support for multiple avatars, which could be changed either manually or, optionally, by the application itself, depending on the smileys used in the conversation. And they will have to be conversation and user specific too.

The closest to this, it seems, is LiveJournal. It supports multiple avatars. And it supports moods – something a user can change. There is even some automation – avatar selection maybe configured based on certain words in the post or comment, if I remember correctly.

Three applications where I want to see this functionality implemented are: Gaim, Skype, and Gmail.

2 thoughts on “Avatars instead of smileys”

  1. You’re saying that it’ll get even more annoying? :)

    What I want to have is MY avatars. My ugly face on the avatars. Anybody can make five pictures, using their mobile phone, registereing different facial expressions. Those who can make a Flash animation are a few.

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