Through my years of managing software projects, I've spent hours debating how to properly name software features. I've held hour-long meetings (with brilliant individuals) where the question "What should we name it?" is asked, and a common consensus is never reached.
Many people gravitate towards choosing a name that describes a product, feature, or service. While this is an excellent starting point, there's a lot more to consider. Here, at Party Center Software, we've recently discovered just how important names are for future platform expansion.
Party Center Software is a SaaS platform that provides solutions for Online Party Booking, Digital Storefronts, Online Waivers, and Point-of-Sale. The majority of our customers are Family Entertainment Centers such as trampoline parks or laserTAG facilities. We take pride in not only developing a solution that works for many different types of facilities, but we love to help our customers truly succeed in growing their business.
To accomplish this, we need to continue modernizing our platform by paying close attention to market changes. As we look to the future, we discovered some of the naming conventions adopted years ago now need to be changed to make way for future development.
The Naming Process At Work
When Party Center Software was first launched, users had the ability to book an "event" online. The term "event" was written into the user interface, referred to in sales demos, and used throughout the reporting system. Thirteen years later, the term "event" is still used and is deeply rooted in our database, technical documentation, knowledge base articles, and of course, throughout the user interface.
As we prepare for the future of our business, we plan to expand our offerings beyond birthday parties to include corporate events, special gatherings, simple reservations, and much more.
Our options were:
Place future online-booking products under "events," essentially building on top of what we have
Change the name to "party" before we expand our offering
Delay the name change to when we roll-out new products
To make matters more complicated, we were in the middle of adopting a new reporting solution and applying extensive user interface design changes. Both of these projects could be significantly impacted by our decision.
If we delayed the name change, it would require more work in the future to navigate away from the term "event." If we prioritized it now, it would delay deploying new features that customers have been asking for. If we tried to place all online-booking products under "events" it would be confusing and clunky.
There were also other company and customer aspects to consider such as:
Trade show material
Marketing efforts in the queue
Taking all of this into account, it's easy to see how a name change can impact an entire business and is a more complicated decision than one would anticipate.
We decided that implementing the name change now was our best option.
Booking birthday "parties" online more accurately describes our current product offering. If we chose to implement the name change after deploying the new reporting solution, we'd double the development workload, since every report would have to be adjusted to align with the new naming convention.
Additionally, applying the name change now influences how we design the user interface and allows us to streamline future user workflows.
4 Questions to Consider When Naming Software Features
Now that we're experienced with the process of a software feature name change, we've come up with 4 simple questions to ask ourselves when evaluating names for our platform:
Does the name fit the functionality and do you get a sense of what the feature does?
In what scenarios would the name conflict with future planned product expansion?
How do our competitors refer to a similar product if they have one?
Do we like the name?
If you take time to think through these questions with your various departments, you'll likely be able to avoid naming conflicts in the future.
The team at Party Center Software feels confident we made the right decision—for our company, customers, and future product offerings—in renaming some of our software features. We hope sharing our experience will help other companies properly evaluate the potential impact it can have on their business when choosing a name.
Don't choose a name that works now. Spend the time to plan and make the best decision for the future of your business.