I need anonymous end users to visualize hashed data, be it a

  • Bitcoin Address (converted to the Sha256 hash it's based upon)
  • File hash
  • SSH key

Since my target audience is normal consumers, and not techies, is there a more visually pleasing form of visualhostkey (below)?

enter image description here

  • Why are you displaying the data? How is it being used? You mention that the audience is non-technical consumers so I wonder why they'd want to see hashed data at all.
    – Matt Obee
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 10:59
  • @mattobee it will be on an app. Specifically between a user and another user with the same app. Or a website. Think of the Bluetooth pairing code that is currently used. This is similar. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 11:02
  • 1
    Is the goal here to do a quick visual comparison of keys, or a very detailed visual matching to make sure keys are absolutely and precisely identical?
    – tohster
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 16:32
  • 1
    @tohster it is technically impossible (or very difficult) to have matching keys with only a small variation. To be specific, two or more people are agreeing on a random number between 1 and 115792089237316195423570985008687907853269984665640564039457584007913129639936 ... and the way SHA2 works, getting remotely close requires more computing power than what currently exists on earth. The GUI can be simplified, to show far less possibilities then that is acceptable from a security perspective. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 17:13
  • Your question and what you are trying to achieve needs clarifying, the data, what can happen to that data and what you need to show need to be much clearer. Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


If I got you right, what you are looking for is an Identicon.

It is similar to the text based representation you mentioned, and it's widely used on the web (take Stack Exchange for example).

Here is an example:

enter image description here


Seems like it is not easy to get an answer to this question, but I think it has to do with the way it is being asked. Instead I'll provide some general guidelines that will help you to work out a solution.

In infographic design, there are a few key points that you need to work in with general visual design principles:

  1. Be faithful to the original data/information - this means that in converting raw data to visual data, you need to retain the accuracy and authenticity of the information. For example if you encode 1 as a red colour then all other values of 1 needs to be the same colour, and you shouldn't use the same red colour for something else.
  2. Be faithful to the original pattern/structure - this means that in converting raw data to visual data, you need to preserve whatever pattern or structure that exists in the grouping of information, so if there is a sequential pattern then you need to retain it so the significance of the sequence is not lost.
  3. Do not introduce visual design if it adds noise to the data - sometimes the raw value shown in its purest form is actually the best, so only introduce visual elements for the purpose of simplifying, comparing or highlighting certain aspects that are easier or quicker to do visually.
  4. Design the visual elements to support the message you want to give to the viewer - if you want to compare then show the difference between things, if you want to highlight then create the contrast between things, etc.

The traditional principles of design still apply, so the use of text styles, colours, diagrams, icons and various other styles still apply, so don't throw it out the window! Unfortunately I don't know enough about the data you are trying to display, otherwise I would be able to have a go at trying to come up with a solution.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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