The Avatars project is conceived within the framework of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems (AACS), with the aim of designing sets of pictograms aimed at people with communication difficulties. It is being developed by UPC students and professors with the service-learning methodology. Specifically, students in the EPSEVG degree in Industrial Design and Product Development are participating in the design. The results of this project feed into the content of the Easy Communicator project. Pictograms are available in .png format to optimize compatibility; and in addition, in the formats of the original designs .svg or .blend.
The messages represented in the pictograms are grouped into conceptual blocks. A first block is dedicated to expressing emotions. Robert Plutchik’s model of the “Wheel of Emotions” has been chosen. This model contains 16 emotions sorted by affinity and consists of 8 basic emotions – joy, sadness, confidence, disgust, fear, anger, surprise and anticipation – and 8 advanced emotions: love, remorse, submission, contempt, fright, aggression, disapproval and optimism. A second block focuses on the basic answers that can be expressed. The 5 simplest messages have been chosen: yes, no, I don’t know, I’ll think about it, I won’t answer.
The design of the avatars materializes in two types of pictograms. A first typology, more conceptual, has focused its efforts on minimizing the set of elements to be incorporated in the pictogram, while maintaining the meaning of the corresponding message. This contains a set of pictograms focused on the human face and a second set focused on the human body. The second typology, more detailed, expends the effort in empathizing with the user, taking advantage of the results of the previous one. This type of pictogram contains a set of female and male characters in a range of ages. As well as a face-centered view and another full-body view.