Give your Products Names, not numbers

By Des Traynor

Most people I know haven’t a clue what mobile phone they own. They know the brand, sure, but after that it’s a vacant stare followed by a “eh, eighty two thirty three i? Umm, injection? No wait, that was my last one. ” Funnily enough, the only people I know who can say it with certainty own the Motorola Razr. (Also known as the least usable phone ever). It’s easy to write that off as a result of impressive advertising, and a distinctive look and feel. There is one other big reason though, the Razr has a name.

There came a point at Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Creative, Dell, HP, and so many others where they decided “Guys, naming these products is a pain in the ass, let’s just roll a dice four times, and that can be the name”. The real annoyance about this, is that it leaves customers drowning in mystery meat navigation. Have a look …

Picture of  Nokia Product Selector
Picture of  Sony Product Selector
Picture of  Samsung Product Selector

The effect of these meaningless dropdowns is that customers resort to what Jared Spool refers to as pogo-sticking. Bouncing into and out of every product page until they find a subset that are suitable, then bouncing again for comparisons sake.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Nokia gaved their phones meaningful names. “Nokia Base 2007” could mean the latest version of the baseline Nokia phone. That’d be useful, it’d mean when your phone (the Nokia Base 2005) breaks you know exactly what you want to replace it with (presuming you were happy with previous versions). It would stop you buying an unsuitable update, because you would know without researching, that you don’t want the Nokia FlipSeries. It’d be useful when I’m looking for a phone to be able to skip over the entire “Nokia Business” range, and look instead for Nokia “Net Ready”. The names don’t have to be boring names, they could invent whole new words if they want, so long as I can find out what they mean easily.

Laptops are no better, a friend of mine presumed that a Dell 4500 was better than a Dell 610, and assumed he had been ripped off when he bought his second hand computer. Obviously we can all laugh at these people, but realistically if all cars were just named after their chassis number could you really tell if the 105.011-6500011 model was a good car? I know that the 2007 Ford Focus is better than the 2002 Ford Mondeo, but I haven’t a clue if the 6131 NFC is a better phone that the 7370i. I know the Apple 23″ Cinema Display is a good monitor, and I know the iPod nano is tiny. I even know that the iPod Nano 4-gig holds less that the 8 gig model. That might seem silly to say, but no doubt if Nokia released them they would be called the NK232 and the NK323X. And what do I know about my next monitor, the SS225MW-HDMi? Not a lot, that’s why it’s far easier to buy products with descriptive names.

Still I guess it might be better to use product codes than to come up with ridiculous names like this