My newest talk Hello, my name is ____ on supporting diverse user identities, presented at OSCON, Open Source Bridge, YAPC::NA, AWS Loft, and the Internationalization & Unicode Conference. Here are the videos, slides, notes, and additional resources.

This presentation contains several examples provided by open source community leader and gender equality advocate Nóirín Plunkett, whose Irish name was frequently mishandled in software. Nóirín has sadly passed away recently. I’d like to thank Nóirín for their contributions to this presentation and to the greater open source community.


Here’s the video from Open Source Bridge. The earlier video from YAPC::NA is also available.


Here’s the latest version of the slides, as presented at OSCON.


Our personal identity is core to how we perceive ourselves and wish to be seen. All too often, however, applications, databases, and user interfaces are not designed to fully support the diversity of names expressed both locally and internationally. This talk demonstrates ways to build applications that respect users’ identities instead of limiting them.

Topics include:

  • Input, validation, storage, and display of personal names
  • Unicode usernames and solutions to security concerns
  • Internationalization and localization considerations

Although names provide a powerful example and are the focus of this presentation, much of the topic is relevant to all types of user input. The intended audience includes programmers, UX designers, and QA testers. Together we can build inclusive software that supports diverse identities.


My Open Source Projects

More about Names

Non-BMP Characters

Unicode Usernames

Thanks to everyone who participated in the session and discussion!

Nova Patch (@novapatch) is a principal engineer at Shutterstock, specializing in internationalization, multilingual search, and building products that support the world’s languages, writing systems, and cultures. They are an open source developer, contributor to the Unicode CLDR, and member of the Unicode Consortium.