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I'd like to find a way to create recognizable avatars automatically. We are working on a cloud application and for one segment of our target audience it's very likely that people will upload images/avatars to their profiles (eg. media and model agencies…) but in many other segments they won't (eg. IT management, investment companies…). The application is created for small and medium business teams (up to ~80 people).

The way these avatars will be generated should be very simple (preferably one click, regenerate with another). Colors (maybe even form) should be recognizable and distinguishable.

The reason: second segment is dealing with sensitive data and users - I think that here pattern recognition (via recognizable avatars) is important and would be helpful. These users are dealing with creating policies and managing rights thus a failure might have serious consequences.

Do you know good examples for auto-generated avatars? (LayerVault is good, but I think the generated pattern is too complex)

ps. LayerVault avatar generator: http://blog.chrsl.net/post/33418067409/layervault-lets-users-generate-avatars-from-a

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    Do you mean something like identicons?
    – Brendon
    Jul 5, 2013 at 12:11
  • Yes, something like that - but something that generates a little bit more modern stuff :) Any kind of strange ideas are welcome, we will implement it somehow… Jul 5, 2013 at 12:28
  • In my opinion, Name, Job title and other profile content will be valuable to the user for quick parsing but default system generated avatars will be visually filtered out by their brains. A good design principle to follow is 'do less', so maybe just allow users to upload avatars and any profile without one has a default silhouette applied, that's it. Leave it as that, do less and focus on something else like a strategy for persuading other personas to upload a picture, do that, and move on.
    – dpg
    Jul 5, 2013 at 12:31
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    Should your long term plan focus on auto generated emotionless avatars or focus on engaging users to upload a real picture. Don't accept defeat and just knock-off IT mgmt as a segment who will never upload a real profile pic. Behaviours change over time and maybe this auto generated techy gizmo thing is a bias that you're into but really need to validate with the people.
    – dpg
    Jul 5, 2013 at 13:45
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    You are right, complexity might not worth the effort. Still I'd be happy I could check some great examples :) User data (based on previous version) shows that people in certain sectors are not interested in uploading photos. I don't think that it's worth to force, maybe it's just not important in their sector. In this case not "upload" is complicated, but the "what to upload"… Will see however :) Good examples are still welcome. Jul 5, 2013 at 14:07

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This solution by google caught my eye, sounds like it may be appropriate for you as well.

enter image description here

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    Looks good, however I'd be even happier with something that not figurative/funny. These are also not generated but pre-drawn. I think that layervault's solution will be the winner so far :) blog.chrsl.net/post/33418067409/… Jul 5, 2013 at 13:05

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