Another Opinion please?

I am creating a rather complex iPhone app to keep track of data one usually needs to share with their Doctor [Why not just use the Health app you? Because it is super complex for simple tasks (takes 3 minutes to add ONE medicattion!))

Anyways. It allows the tracking of data for multiple people, so each person has a “profile”

My question is… for the “profile picture” I have 3 choices

  1. A blue or pink circle with persons initials (as shown)
  2. expend the effort to deal with the camera and allow a REAL Photo
  3. Use one of the many cartoon avatars

I’m shying away from #2, for the added effort without a huge return on investment, as the main idea it to quickly determine gender. Not to mention the images are rather small, so detail / contrast etc might be a problem

If you’re planning to sell this I would avoid 2 also for privacy / HIPAA reasons. Cartoon avatars might be one case where they are the most explicit of available options (significance of color across cultures and for persons who are color blind is a problem). It’d be nice if even cartoon images had blue or pink background, then you get the best of both worlds.

I had not even considered the cultural aspects of the cartoon avatars… wonder if I could instead use the new advanced emoji where that can be controlled directly by the user

Yeah I cant imagine a photo in there would be very recognizable at all

A user choice of 1 or 3 makes sense - esp since there are tons of emojis etc to choose from

Yep, used to be that a silhouette with short hair or side curls would be fine but today it’s getting darned near impossible to suss out gender even in real life so I’d leave it to the user, lol. My stepdaughter takes gender-fluid friends in stride, but I have no desire to divine in an app I’m writing what mood the user is in today, so let them figure it out!

Then keep option 1 BUT with custom colors. (And better antialiased graphics)

I think I’m gonna go with something like this… this is just a proof of concept

what ?
no choice of hair color too ?

or glasses or not ?


show me the emojis and I’ll add them :slight_smile:

believe it or not I just listened to a podcast over the weekend that was discussing the lack of emoji’s with glasses and how unrepresentative that is

coloured blobs is probably THE least controversial since there’s no “but it doesnt look like me” to ever get caught up in


Using just emojis with its limited personalization is as bad as having just blue and pink as color choices.

if taking a picture is too complex for the app, creating a good avatar system is more complex.

What about the circle with initials and personalized color with an option to load a picture.

Importing an existing picture would probably be something Dave can do

My comment about color blobs was meant more as “use option #1” where its initials on a color circle

Trying to avoid every last thing people might find controversial is a field of landmines now :frowning:

I would never use an emoji for a profile icon/avatar.
I may never use my photo.
My opinion: allow several colors for the circle and not just blue/pink.

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I think I’d use something like this:

Another one for females and the user can still change the color.

Ah but where the bald one - like me ? I dont have a fancy swoopy hairline like that

no glasses ?


I kid you not I listened to a podcast just recently where the poor app developer spent more time trying to represent every possible whim in their avatars for people than writing useful app code

People bitched about how unrepresentative they were and …

Dev finally gave up and said “screw avatars” and basically opted for “pick a color + your initials on them”
Dont recall them saying they permitted or used pictures
But that would have meant anyone could upload whatever they wanted as their image and if it didnt look like them its their own damned fault

And the dev could get back to actually improving their app and not screwing around with such silly shit

I was going ask if that was Connan O’Brien! :wink:


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I’ve built a similar app tailored to users in a particular country.

Apologies in advance.

Not trying to jam a stick in the spokes of your bike as you ride past, but I’m experiencing mild daja vu.


  1. Never list multiple medical profiles. Only load the profile associated with the logged in AppleID etc, and never allow users to know the existence of another users profile (seek your own legal advice on this).

  2. Never lazy load a profile without a login event (seek your own legal advice on this).

  3. Lose any reference to gender, other than in words (data) buried deep in the user profile. From memory our app listed 72 entries for “other” genders. Pink and Blue aren’t going to cut it in 2022, you’ll need a large color palette I’m afraid. Please don’t ask me to explain the various genders.

  4. Lose any reference to age (this is a massive turn-off and point of op-out particularly for female users). Users know exactly how old they are, and won’t thank you for reminding them.

  5. Lose the profile picture / avatar, you can’t win that game without great effort. For reasons stated in 1 & 2 you don’t need to open that door anyway.

My overall message is to lose anything that might cause even the slightest personal offence.

Dave, If you are like me (I don’t register much on the emotional scale - but to my surprise others care passionately about the minutiae of their labels). So be careful.

One final thought, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should when it comes to medical data.

Once again, my apologies.

Kind regards, Andrew


Or Leon Trotsky :axe: