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I am developing UI/UX for my mobile app which uses Social Networking.

Currently It downloads names and events of friends, to do that I download list of user's friend from social networks, i.e. Facebook and Google+.

What is the advantage and drawback of showing user profile pictures over not showing them?

Advantage : User can identify and verify a friend, can it be avoidable because all I show is user's friends-or those people with whom user interacts.

Disadvantage: User have to wait till image is loaded. And downloading and handling images is a time and memory consuming task.

Should I avoid Image for the sake of speed?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Why don't you have an option to disable it? Associating a persons face/picture to a name is (to me) a no-brainer. You should always present this to the user where possible. Allowing the user to disable this feature would make your application more user friendly for slower connections, but enable faster users to have it.

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To answer this question you would have to do A/B-testing with a selection of your intended target audience. Then, and only then, you will know what your users prefer.

But from a programatical point of view, it is possible to let the user interact with the UI and on another thread download images, and let them emerge when available. Several Twitter applications use this technique, since twitter users want to interact, not wait for all images to download.

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