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I'm re-designing the main page of my web app.

Since it is a social network I'm thinking about placing photos of (pretty) users on the main page.

It will look something like this:

Main Page

What is your opinion about it?

Should the main page, where the unregistered user will land on, have this kind of pictures?

What if he clicks them, should a unregistered user be able to access them from this User Interface?

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Thank you :)

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3  
Before exposing users' photos to the public & giving direct links to their profiles, you need to make sure that your Terms of Service and Privacy Policy allow for it. If not, you'll need to get the users accept the new terms. –  dnbrv Dec 29 '11 at 22:21

2 Answers 2

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My answer is YES, it's a good idea.

However, the photos ought to be of real users who have opted-in to have their images appear there (opting-out and buried in terms of service are just shady).

Consider either (1) an UN-checked opt-in box at signup; or (2) case-by-case personalized invitations to have photo on home page.

Either way, give simple option for users to undo their opt-in and communicate it clearly (it'll help build trust and you'll get more users agreeing to opt-in).

In addition to being respectful of your users, asking their permission to use their photo in the home page rotation is a nice compliment. You might even create a "front page photo" badge that could appear on the profile.

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User photos are definetly a good conversion strategy.

Upsides:

  • User sees there are other users
  • User can be compelled to join by getting interested in a certain profile
  • Registered user may see it as a promotion and give them fame

Downsides:

  • You will need to keep a close look at which photos appear, that they are not unappropiate and that they don't convey the wrong message.
  • Registered users can be against having their profile photos shown on the main page. To prevent this you can either let them opt-in or opt-out, or simply state it in the terms of use that they need to agree to.

As per what should happen if a user clicks on a photo, it depends if user profiles are public or not. If they are public, send them to the profile, if not, send them to the registration/login page. In any case, make the registration form pretty apparent, since once a user has clicked you know they are interested. Conversions!

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Also, it's not immediately clear to me that those are actual users on the site. I'm thinking you've just put stock user photos on the front page. If however, there is some text to deindividuate them, I might understand that I am being shown users--thus having the pros and cons @Naoise lists above. –  ajkochanowicz Dec 29 '11 at 22:25
    
+1 to what Naoise had said,adding pictures to a page adds a human aspect to it and encourages people to join.However the question that has to be raised is that are you going to keep these pictures constant or will they cycle through a list? –  Mervin Johnsingh Dec 29 '11 at 22:36
    
The pictures will cycle, i will add, or better say, mark the users which will be on the first page. So your saying that there should be a caption too that says something like, 'This are our users' should this be definitely on the page? –  Herr K Dec 29 '11 at 23:14
    
Well the reason I asked if the pictures will cycle is because of the concern of inappropriate pictures turning up on your front page.I am also a little concerned about you specifying "pretty people" being on the front page (I know its a marketing drive) but you could have some disappointed users who signed up for having their pics on the front page and were shown –  Mervin Johnsingh Dec 29 '11 at 23:33
    
hmmm thats right. As of "pretty", it's actually people who's pictures are within the border of the rules. So it doesn't have to be that hot at all :) This tips are very positive, thank you very much! –  Herr K Dec 30 '11 at 10:41

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