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User Initials as User Avatar

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Level 9
Level 9
I uploaded this file to the Global Discussion group earlier using the "Share a File" feature, but don't see anywhere in the Community where it actually posted. So, I'll just add a topic. A popular feature request in the Idea Exchange is to display user's initials as their avatar if they have not uploaded a photo. The idea is under consideration, but I didn't want to wait. Attached is my collection of 6,084 avatars featuring all combinations of initials from AA to ZZ on nine different colored backgrounds. Replacing the generic faceless avatars with these made a huge impact on the look and feel of Workfront. If anyone wants specifics on the graphics setup (colors, font), or original PSD and data sets I used to generate these, I can share those as well. It took me a couple hours to update several hundred user's avatars, but it was time well spent when you compare the before and after. Enjoy, Bill William English
19 Replies

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Level 10
Where there's a William, there's a way! Nice job, Bill, and thanks for sharing. When you have time, would it be possible to post a screenshot or two from your final efforts illustrating why these "initials" avatars seem so much more compelling to you? Regards, Doug Doug Den Hoed - AtAppStore

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Level 10
Thanks Bill – I see what you mean. With the initials and different colors, the context of the screen seems richer and more useful. Somewhere in Armenia, I hope the Dev team is smiling in their sleep as your window takes the shape they'd imagined. Out of curiosity, did you use any particular conventions when choosing background colors? Regards, Doug

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Level 10
I love this ideas! we've got quite a lot of users which haven't uploaded any avatar in Workfront. That looks really good 🙂 Dagmara Garwell BAKKAVOR LTD

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Level 10

Bill: Nice idea - thanks for sharing! Your "after" screenprint shows the more impressive view. When I don't have a photo/picture, I have generic head profiles that I use (One with a question mark & one stating 'image coming soon'). The images are attached if anyone wants to use them. I may actually switch to Bill's idea. Workfront: It would be great if the system had these capabilities! Marie Kelly The MetroHealth System0690z000007ZiOsAAK.jpg

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Level 9
Level 9
>>Out of curiosity, did you use any particular conventions when choosing background colors? There are all kinds of possibilities, depending on your organization. Assigning color by job role, seniority, team, etc. but I didn't feel it was necessary or added value in our environment. So, I settled to simply make sure there was an equal distribution of colors and that no two users with the same initials shared the same color. To do that, I used Excel: - exported the active user list to .xlsx - used a formula to strip names down to their initials in a separate column - sorted the worksheet by the initials column - pasted a repeating ordered list of seven colors in a third column When initials repeat across multiple records, each of them will have a different color value so long as there are no more than seven users with the same initials. This also generated records for users with unique names not captured in ordinary initials. (like SMJ for Sally Mae Johnson, or DdM for David deMarco). I saved this file as a CSV and loaded it in Photoshop. Google "data driven graphics in Photoshop" to see how you can use CSVs to automate image production in Photoshop. I ended up with several hundred .JPGs with filenames matching user names. I would have loved to have uploaded the JPGs in a kickstart, but that doesn't seem possible, or it wasn't obvious how to do it. So, I spent a morning uploading JPGs to user profiles. To prepare for onboarding future new users, I repeated the above steps using all 676 combinations of initials on nine colors, so I will just pick from that batch as needed going forward. I also updated the color mix because I felt there weren't enough colors from which to choose, and some of the original shades were too similar. (You can see this in the screen capture, it actually looks better in our live environment with the new colors). While I hope the dev team eventually does this (it is not too challenging to code), I hope they don't do it *too* soon, so I can justify the time I spent setting it up 🙂

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Level 10
Makes sense; lots of options for background color conventions. I poked around to see whether I could update missing avatars based on initials using the API, but (after a swing and a miss) I decided to stop, too: this one strikes me as an excellent feature for Workfront to add directly in a future release. And until then, folks looking to enrich their user interface can use download your zip file and use your workaround. Thanks again Bill – this is a fun one! Regards, Doug

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Level 4
Thanks for spreading some Disney magic. This is a great idea to add some more color and customization right out of the box
-- Melinda Layten, Senior Consultant Work Management Improvement CapabilitySource Phone: "tel:(484)%20505-6855" value="+18014720979" (484) 505-6855 site: "http://www.capabilitysource.com/" www.capabilitysource.com email: "mailto:melinda.layten@capabilitysource.com" melinda.layten@capabilitysource.com - we simplify your work so you can run your business -

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Level 10
This is awesome, Bill! Great interim solution....and hopefully Workfront go ahead with this out of the box..... David Cornwell

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Level 10
Bill, this is an awesome idea! We have the same issue....lots of generic, faceless avatars. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope Workfront can work this into the Roadmap soon! You rock! 🙂 Admin Kelly-Wehrmann SSFCU

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Level 9
After seeing that there was an entry in the Idea Exchange with 50+ votes but was marked as "Not Planned", this is a perfect alternative. Its great we have such a motivated user base that help each other out. I've joked around and set people's images to all sorts of ridiculous things (LL Cool J, a bowl of guacamole, Treebeard from Lord of the Rings), but I can really only do that for co-workers I know I can joke around with. This is a wonderful solution, so you have my thanks. Anthony Pernice Healthcare Consultancy Group

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Level 3
I love this idea and am taking it to my team to see if we can implement it here. It looks so much nicer! Thanks for sharing. Holly Harvey Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Publishing Services

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Level 10
Love! Thanks Bill. Workfront Proof already does this, so it would be nice to be consistent in WF! Katherine Haven, PMP VP, Director, Business Technologies - PMO FCB

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Level 2
I love this! I absolutely want to start implementing this on our end. Thanks for sharing! Bree Main General Nutrition Centers, Inc.

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Level 4
I haven't tested this but I think you could in fact use a kickstart based on the article below. You would group the avatars and excel kickstart file into a zip file then upload the file as usual.

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Level 8
Great work and thank you for sharing all the files! Here is the link to the Idea Exchange post for those who have not yet upvoted. It is now marked as Not Planned, but I'm sure additional votes cannot hurt. https://support.workfront.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/115001153588-Populate-empty-profile-picture-w... Karen Marck Wunderman

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Community Advisor
Looks like it's marked as Planned now!! Monique Evans Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.