Display full names of user profile on page titles (WordPress)

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Display the full names of user profile on page titles (WordPress)

The decision by WordPress and certain themes to display only a user's first name as a nickname in the page title, by default, can be traced back to a blend of user experience design principles, privacy considerations, and the platform's historical context. This choice, while seemingly straightforward, is rooted in a complex understanding of how users interact with web content and their expectations around personalization and privacy.

User Experience Design

At the core of user experience (UX) design is the principle of simplicity and minimalism. Presenting information in a clear, concise manner helps users to quickly understand content and reduces cognitive load. By defaulting to display just the first name in page titles, WordPress and theme developers are adhering to this principle. A first name can often provide enough personalization to feel tailored to the user, creating a friendly and welcoming tone without overwhelming them with unnecessary detail. This approach is especially effective in environments where space is limited, such as mobile device screens, or in situations where quick readability is paramount.

Personalization vs. Privacy

The balance between personalization and privacy is a delicate one. In an era where concerns about personal data and privacy are ever-increasing, the use of just a first name strikes a compromise between creating a personalized experience and protecting user privacy. A full name could potentially reveal too much information about a user, especially in contexts where privacy is a concern. By using just the first name, WordPress and its themes offer a level of personalization that acknowledges the user without exposing too much personal information to other visitors or in web search results.

Historical Context and Technical Considerations

WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform to a comprehensive content management system. In its early days, the focus was on creating personal blogs, where the use of a first name could foster a sense of community and informality. As WordPress expanded to support a wide variety of websites, the default behaviors, including the use of first names in page titles, were carried over. These defaults were designed to work "out of the box" for a broad audience, with the understanding that they could be customized according to the specific needs of a site.

From a technical standpoint, implementing a system that uses the first name by default is simpler and more straightforward. It reduces the complexity of managing different display formats across various themes and plugins. Moreover, first names are less likely to cause formatting issues or exceed character limits in titles and headings, ensuring a consistent appearance across different devices and screen sizes.

Customization and Flexibility

It's important to note that while the default setting might use only the first name, WordPress is highly customizable. Users who prefer to display full names—or any other variation—have the option to change this setting. Themes and plugins can extend this functionality further, offering site administrators control over how names are displayed. This flexibility is a cornerstone of WordPress's design, allowing it to cater to a wide range of preferences and use cases.

How to adjust the display names

By including a short piece of code in you function.php, you may adjust the WordPress theme or plugin settings so that the page title of the user's profile to always display the entire names.

add_action( 'user_registration_after_register_user_action', 'ur_insert_nickname', 1, 3 );
function ur_insert_nickname( $valid_form_data, $form_id, $user_id ) {
    $user_nickname = $valid_form_data['first_name']->value . ' ' . $valid_form_data['last_name']->value;
    update_user_meta( $user_id, 'nickname', $user_nickname );