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Has anyone done any research regarding the position of the profile image in chat? Is having it on top of the sent messages (like Slack does it) Slack profile image location

or underneath the messages as Facebook does it. Facebook profile image location

Help will be appreciated

  • What do you mean 'research'? What is it you're wanting to know about? Can you describe the specific problem / situation that you're in that you want help with? – JonW Dec 15 '15 at 14:11
  • Sure. Well, by research I meant if anyone has collected data to actually say which of these solutions is better. I'm trying to figure out whether the profile image should stay with the first message sent or should it drop to the last message. – iremlopsum Dec 15 '15 at 14:14
  • Are you going to make a "side-to-side" chat? I mean, your friend's messages at left and your messages at right? – pabloFdz Dec 15 '15 at 14:39
  • it's a side-to-side chat indeed. As well, there is group chat and one-on-one chat. Talking desktop as well. – iremlopsum Dec 15 '15 at 14:56
  • well, I'm 100% sure Slack did some extensive testing and I assume FB did it as well, although I doubt they had share it. However, avatar on top is more common and logical (add many messages on FB and you'll see what I mean: you won't see any avatar until you get to the end). Now, please notice that FB does this for all elements inside inputs, even on desktop. Take a look to the camera icon, now add a long message and you'll see the icon goes to the bottom rather than keeping on top, which leads to think they're sticking to a pattern of sending everything to bottom – Devin Dec 15 '15 at 15:34
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You will need to take into account that in most chats there's no profile picture and it fits and works perfectly (so you will not find an only solution).

Nevertheless, the most common and used technique is to set the position at top. That's because when we read, we do it from the top to the bottom (this answer for example).

So why my username is at the bottom? Because it's not relevant, it just shows some additional information that will maybe be useful to you or another user looking for some specific info. Like the date of the post.


What about the Facebook example?

First of all, you have to know that big companies need to do this kind of changes, they need to distinguish themselves from others. So when you see an underneath chat who do you think of? That's it...

In this case, it's used to let us know when the message has been read. Realize that a couple of years ago, there was no image. In the group-chat it's used aswell, but when you open the chat, you start reading from the last read message, not from the end. The point is to show the image in the first message and once read it, move it to the bottom so it doesn't become a mess.


Like in all cases, it will depend on the application context, the user-target and other factors.

Hope it helps a little bit.

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