A talking avatar is a computer-generated representation that mimics real-world facial movements and speech, often with a mouth that moves in sync with audio. These animated characters are used on websites, apps, and in live presentations to create a more personalized and engaging experience for visitors.
The main purpose of this study is to investigate how the presence (as against the absence) of non-interactive talking avatar affects consumer perceptions of social presence, information credibility, website trust, and patronage intention in an online store. It will also examine the moderating effect of user gender on these effects.
Talking avatars have gained popularity in e-commerce websites as they are seen to increase the trustworthiness of online stores, especially among female users. This is due to the psychological principle that consumers assign responsibility of messages to the most proximate messenger. This is why talking avatars are regarded as the most trustworthy sources of product description on websites.
Using a talking avatar can be done easily by selecting a template from a variety of avatar designs provided by different software platforms. Once a suitable design has been chosen, users can customize the character to suit their needs. Then, they can add a voice and lip-sync the avatar’s mouth movements to match the audio file. This process is called lip-sync animation and can be done in most software programs.
Some software options are designed specifically for creating website talking avatars while others – for presentation talks and the third ones – can be used for all kinds of projects. These programs are very easy to use and provide a lot of customization features such as a diverse choice of 3D characters, a drag-and-drop function, and text-to-speech technology. Some even support the creation of animation videos with a dialog between different characters. talking avatar