We’ve had a request to make given name and surname attributes available to services.

Until now we’ve not been keen on these two attributes, as they’re rather anglocentric, and much of the world doesn’t follow this style of naming. There can be confusion over the order of name parts, especially if services ask for two names and then display them in a fixed order. Some people only have one name (a mononym) such as in Afghanistan or 1980s pop.

Asking for a single, free-form “Display name” is usually a much better approach: the user can type their name the way they want it to be displayed.

However, some sites need to collect given name and family name information for legacy reasons, especially compatibility with other software and identity verification against HR systems, local official documents, and so on.

We don’t actually collect this information yet, so as a stop-gap measure we’re now using some software to analyse the display name and try to work out which parts are most likely to be given name and surname.

We also plan to add some optional fields for given names and surnames in Account, to be used if the automatic version makes mistakes.