I am developing an application for a quiz competition. So obviously there would be a student search engine. So I decided that there would be an auto-suggestion feature for it. But, my question is; is it really necessary to display picture of student in auto-suggestion?

I also had in mind to display other student information in the auto-suggest list like student level, center etc. But, that would limit possibility to show the picture.

So, what is your advice on such situations? or is their any general thumb rule for UX such as auto-suggestion?

The end users are management.

  • 1
    Why is someone searching for a student, and who are they? You say this is a 'quiz' application - do you mean an examination app for education? May 27, 2012 at 15:48
  • @JimmyBreck-McKye they are searching for student to get their info and "they" are "management"
    – sree
    May 27, 2012 at 16:26
  • From my side i say yes.. because quiz needs some graphical view...And image must be very light .so that they load faster. May 27, 2012 at 19:45
  • my worry is weather to load pic on autosuggest? if ur answer is yes to this , then how do you support your theory?
    – sree
    May 27, 2012 at 20:01
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    But what's the context? What's the relationship between this 'management' and the students? How are users searching? Do they know the details of the students they're looking for? Will images actually help them identify the right student? What other data are they likely to recognise? What's the workflow for searching students? You need to provide more details. May 27, 2012 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


There is probably no rule of thumb which covers whether student photos need to be displayed in quiz apps autosuggestions.

There are rules of thumb which say that it's best to provide helpful and relevant information.

The main purpose of the autosuggestion list is to let users easily locate the items they're looking for, without having to type them out. It can also help users pick one of a few identical items or discover items that may be relevant to their search.

You need to ask yourself whether the faces provide any added value, and what's the price you're paying for displaying them.

For example: are you users familiar with the students? Will they recognize faces faster than they'll read the names (humans usually do)? Do the faces provide information which might be relevant even for unfamiliar users, and it's not covered by the name alone, such as gender or age?

And it terms of the price you're paying - will displaying faces slow down your performance? Will it mean that fewer suggestions can fit in the autosuggest box? Will it clutter or overload your UI?

The same goes for any other information you're considering to include in your suggestions.

  • tnx, probably i need to research on this...:)
    – sree
    May 27, 2012 at 16:35

I would try to think about it from the perspective of your users: what kind of information are they going to need to know that the student in the suggestion is the student they are looking for?

For example Facebook has a photo, name, and a few key networks as the information in the suggestions from the search. This allows the user to confirm, is this Joe Smith the one I know? Yes, he's from New York and I can see his face. One issue with the Facebook profile pictures, however, is that the person may be too small in the thumbnail to recognize them, or it may not even be them in the picture. This limits the usefulness of the photo.

Another question to ask is, does your system have photos for all the students? Default "blank" faces would not be helpful to your search.

  • Tnx, u r right , their need not be photos of students available in the app. So, what is the better UI here according to my ques..
    – sree
    May 27, 2012 at 16:32

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