I have a website that uses 2 image sizes:

  • thumbnail
  • profile

They have different sizes (obviously), but their aspect (i.e. width/height) ratios are different. My question9s) is this:

I would like to know what the standard way of doing things on a website is. When a user is uploading a photograph, I ask for a large photograph (which will be used for the profile page), I then "redimension" that image to a thumbnail

Q1. Is this the "normal" way of doing things? (I dont want to make things difficult/different for my users)

If that is the normal way of doing things, then I assume that it would be important to preserve the "aspect ratio" between the profile photo and the thumbnail photo, otherwise the thumbnail photos will be distorted.

Q2 Is this assumption (i.e. maintaining aspect ratio between thumbnail and profile image) correct?

1 Answer 1


I hope this answer both questions:

The best way of doing things (there's no formal "standard" on this) is to allow thumbnail manual cropping trough JavaScript combined with a server side language. The user chooses the cropping immediately after uploading.

Thumbnail photos are tipically square on many social networks. Look at Flickr, Google, Gravatar, Identica and Facebook. 200px X 200px is a common size on this networks.

It's also common practice to allow users to use it's gravatar or twitter profile image on other sites. Both sites have an API to serve this images, and many content management systems use it as default icon, when it exists.

Identi.ca's status.net is a free software that crops profile images. It works well IMHO. You can examine it's code if you need to.

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