The Brief: IMVU is an avatar-based chat room mobile app.
IMVU offers users the opportunity to create a digital self and interact with others virtually. The app is essentially a chat room combining text-based communication with three-dimensional avatars. Users must be seventeen or older to download IMVU; the app is commonly used for pursuing online adult relationships.
Designing a digital life
Each user creates an avatar to represent him or herself. Per the app’s description, users can design these avatars to reflect their actual image, or take the opportunity to craft a new persona. A digital store sells new clothing options in exchange for in-app currency.
Users can select from a variety of animated locations to place their avatar. These locations serve as different chat rooms and cater to a variety of interests and sensibilities. Popular locations include virtual parks, clubs, and cafes.
Users communicate with one another through a combination of text-based chatting and avatar interaction. Avatars can walk, pose, give gifts, and touch each other in various ways.
Safety & privacy
Account creation requires syncing a Facebook account or signing up with an email address. Users earn in-app currency by direct payment or by completing questionnaires that require inputting personal information, such as location, age, income, and others. Many of the female clothing options are revealing; one free male clothing item is an eggplant costume.