The User Profile design pattern provides users with a public page where they can showcase their identity as a creator.

Use This Pattern When

  • Users can interact with each other on the system
  • Users want to publicly display their identities
  • Artifacts created by users can be stored and displayed on the system

How to Use

Elements Considerations
Add the user’s name or username in a prominent area of the page. Can users customize how much of their full name is displayed? If the system utilizes usernames, are they created by the user?
Include a profile picture in the page near the name. Can users upload their own photos, or is there a predetermined list they can select from. If photos can be uploaded, what are the specifications (i.e. size, photo quality).
Consider allowing users to describe themselves in an “About Me” section. How much space on the page can this section take? Are there any limitations on the number of characters used in this section, or on its customization (i.e. adding images, incorporating HTML/CSS)?
Showcase the user’s achievements. Does the system utilize badges or followers? Is there a competitive aspect of the system? Will this motivate other users?
Include the user’s social circles. Does the user have friends or followers that can be listed? Are they involved in online communities or groups? Can users on the system use this information to find common interests and potentially collaborate with each other?
Display the user’s work and online activity. Does the system store users’ online artifacts? Can the user create posts for others on the system to see? Should the user control how much of their activity is displayed on their profile and on the system?

Why Use This Pattern

The ability to create a user profile supports both social and self-directed learning, which are key components within the domain of 21st century skill set. A user’s profile can be used to showcase one’s identity as a person via a profile image and custom description as well as one’s identity as a creator via their creative work. Housing an individual’s work also reinforces the method of metacognition in which an individual views their progress of creative production and reflect on their learning experience and define goals. This pattern additionally has the potential to encourage the creation of social ties as users continue to view each other’s work. This may foster social learning, in which users begin to collaborate with one another and teach each other new skills and share new perspectives.


Name of example

Example description text

Related Research

Martin, C. K., Nacu, D. C., Pinkard, N. (2016). Revealing Opportunities for 21st Century Learning: An Approach to Interpreting User Trace Log Data. Journal of Learning Analytics Special issue on Learning Analytics for 21st Century Competencies.

Nacu, D.C.,  Martin, C.K, Sandherr, J.  and Pinkard, N. (2015). Encouraging online contributions in underrepresented populations. Research in Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) in Charlotte, NC, pp. 1-4.