Our names are personal things that people attach great value to, so in general we should try to accommodate a person's full name. However at the same time, a persons name (especially in an app) is read by other people more often than it is read by themselves, and is primarily there to identify them to someone else. So there is a solid argument for a name length limit.

The question then becomes, what a sane length limit is.

The UK Government uses a limit of 70 characters for a full name field in their internal systems, but it seems to me that 70 characters is somewhat excessive if usability is the prime criterion.

Does anyone know of any studies on limiting a users name length (the name that is displayed, not their username) and the UX implications? Feedback from experience and UX testing of this would also be good.

Please note that I am not asking how to display a long name or about technical issues in implementing long names. For that there are already good answers. This is solely about the UX considerations in choosing a name length limit.

  • This question seems to have been already asked. – Hynes Apr 23 '14 at 13:40
  • @Hynes That question was dealing more with the technical issues of it - which is why it was closed. – JohnGB Apr 23 '14 at 21:26

Seventy characters sounds about right to me. Some people have very long names. Some cultures in general have very long names.

If you've not come across it already go read Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names — it applies just as much to UX folk ;-)

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I like falsehood #40: "People have names" – Roger Attrill Apr 23 '14 at 11:17
  • @adrianh Nice link :) But if it were simply about how many characters are needed to include all possible names, I could easily set the limit at 255 instead, and that would cover it. However, names are intended to be read by other people more than the person whose name it is, so to me that should be taken into account. But I've never seen anything dealing with name length that does, hence the problem. – JohnGB Apr 23 '14 at 21:30
  • Then possibly what you want is not a "name" field by a "how would you like to be addressed?" field? – adrianh Apr 24 '14 at 5:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.