Using Worker Avatars to Improve Microtask Crowdsourcing

Sihang Qiu, Max V. Birk, Alessandro Bozzon, Ujwal Gadiraju

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The future of crowd work has been identified to depend on worker satisfaction, but we lack a thorough understanding of how worker satisfaction can be increased in microtask crowdsourcing. Prior work has shown that one solution is to build tasks that are engaging. To facilitate engagement, two methods that have received attention in recent HCI literature are the use of video games and conversational interfaces. While these are largely different techniques, they aim for the same goal of reducing worker burden and increasing engagement in a task. On one hand, video games have huge motivation potential and translating game design elements for motivational purposes has shown positive effects. Recent work in games research has shown that the use of player avatars is effective in fostering interest, enjoyment, and other aspects pertaining to intrinsic motivation. On the other hand, conversational interfaces have been argued to have advantages over traditional GUIs due to facilitating a more human-like interaction. Conversational microtasking has recently been proposed to improve worker engagement in microtask marketplaces. The contexts of games and crowd work are underlined by the need to motivate and engage participants, yet the potential of using worker avatars to promote self-identification and improve worker satisfaction in microtask crowdsourcing has remained unexplored. Addressing this knowledge gap, we carried out a between-subject study involving 360 crowd workers. We investigated how worker avatars influence quality related outcomes of workers and their perceived experience, in conventional web and novel conversational interfaces. We equipped workers with the functionality of customizing their avatars, and selecting characterizations for their avatars, to understand whether identifying with an avatar can increase the motivation of workers. We found that using worker avatars with conversational interfaces can effectively reduce cognitive workload and increase worker retention. Our results indicate the occurrence of similarity and wishful avatar identification in crowdsourcing. Our findings have important implications in alleviating workers' perceived workload and on the design of crowdsourcing microtasks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUsing Worker Avatars to Improve Microtask Crowdsourcing
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021


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