(Super edge case?). I'm making an app that will pit users against each other. How would I display 2 people with exactly the same name against each other. If they have avatars, it would be easy (just show their avatar to distinguish) but let's say for the sake of discussion that they don't.

Something like John Doe vs John Doe.

  • Does the users have middle name(s)? Mar 28, 2017 at 6:54
  • 1
    Use nicknames/usernames instead? Mar 28, 2017 at 7:40
  • Where is this being displayed? what have you tried / thought of so far? Mar 28, 2017 at 7:46
  • @JoaoCarvalho, yes, they have nicknames (and unique emails), but they are guest accounts imported from a phone book. So if they are imported, they might now have these values set at the start of the activity. Mar 28, 2017 at 7:59
  • @AndrewMartin honestly we're just displaying the same names, think "John vs John". We're using it in the context of something that is like a bowling score sheet. Mar 28, 2017 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


I would do two things simultaneously:

  • add "you" to username (e.g. "John Doe (you)") - which would allow them to easily know which one is them - however not having any distinction between the other ones.
  • use avatars.

Then, as some of Users may have avatars unset, I would assign them something like Google does in Google docs, differentiating just colour and shape, not username:

enter image description here

The only thing I would change would be displaying actual name. They would get used to the temporary avatars with time.

  • 1
    +1 Given the nature and detail of the question, this is a suitable answer.
    – Michael Lai
    Mar 28, 2017 at 8:35

It doesn't take a great deal of thought to start with creating a common pattern. It the current player's name is always in the same place on the screen then it doesn't matter if their opponent has the same name because it won't appear in the current player space: Something like this:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Alternatively, you could try just showing the opponents name, showing the names in different colours, different sizes... there are lots of ways to do this without needing to bend your brain too much.

  • To be honest, I'm not really happy with this answer - the question is really broad and the OP has not really demonstrated the specifics of the problem they're trying to deal with so this answer is really wooly. Mar 28, 2017 at 8:14

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