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Generating an avatar for customers with a splash of utility

It’s kind of a pet peave of mine when I see a bunch of empty contact photos. So, when we started rolling out a support desk program (we’re using FreshDesk), the last thing I wanted every day was to have a bunch of blank contact photos staring back at me.

I recently wrote a script which will generate icons for customers who haven’t set a profile picture. The result I think has some nice utility to it as well…

For each customer, I generate an icon consisting of their initials and and then a rectangular bar of color. The color of their initials is unique to them… and the bar of color is the same for each customer in an organization.  This allows you to glance at the list of tickets and more easily recognize the contacts / companies.  

To generate the “random” color, I simply did an MD5 hash of their Name or Company Name.  Then, took the first 6 digits and made that hex value my color.  Pretty easy.

I wrote a script and API wrapper for FreshDesk which can iterate through all the contacts for your organization and update them all in one step!  That code is available on github here:  

In case you’re wondering, why didn’t I just use gravatar?  Only about 5% of our customers have their work email addresses (which we correspond with) associated with a gravatar profile.  So, this is the next best alternative.

There’s a lot of other cool things you could do with something like this… You could have maybe special colors indicating support priority levels… add little stars or flags maybe… Please post back if you come up with a better design.  I ended up using Future MD Cn Bold.  



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