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Ask HN: Review my website, please. (babynameclusters.com)
12 points by brfox on Nov 20, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

On the home page, it says "lighter is more popular, darker is less." That's the inverse of what people expect. I recommend switching it around.

That's interesting... I seem to intuitively think that brighter/lighter is more popular and darker/dimmer is less popular. I wonder what the ratio is overall of people's perceptions. Upvote this comment if you think lighter is more popular (the parent comment had a vote of 8 when I posted this comment).

He's right actually, I just went to the site and went through the entire list thinking "Wow Brooklyn is more popular than you'd think", then I glanced down at the color legend and realized Darker meant "LESS" and kind of chuckled.

Why? In all honesty I've never seen it done your way before. Lighter=weaker impact=less. Darker=stronger impact=more.


Especially as your using red! light red / pink is a very wishy washy colour and the darker reds draw the eye much more easily.

I agree with nickh. Darker should be more popular. Look at your Google Analytics chart: dark green means more visitors than light green. White means no data/no info. So that's a more natural gradation.

Without reading the legends, looking at the map, I almost expected the darker shade to be more popular, and when I clicked on results for more common hispanic names like Juan or so, I was surprised. And then read the legend to find that its other way round. But very kool app!

I would agree with you if the colors were against a dark background. But as it is, dark colors contrast more with the white/gray background, and thus get visual priority over the light colors.

I think it's a matter of bold vs less bold, not dark vs light.

Thanks for the feedback, I have made those changes, and I think you're right, it looks better:




And you need to tweak things to make the differential in colours more distinct. Perhaps a range from yellow to red or something.

My two cents: I'd change the design: I'd make the front page more like Google. (Search box in the middle)

And your site is full of features - like "Browse baby names..." and "We have amazing maps..." those thing are features - what you need to do is list the benefits. You should tell the users what value they get. Example: Our coats have double lining = feature: Our coats keep you warmer = value.

And from a users experience point of view: The site isn't very instructive and its hard to navigate.

For me I want to use the site to find the least "popular" name - I guess a user can figure it out by your maps and boxes - But wouldn't it be great to just type in a name and get a page back with a "name popularity" map? Or if I need suggestion for names maybe you could do that too via popularity - by entering a state?

Like I said just my two cents.

Thanks for the feedback about features vs value.

When we picked out baby names, the first letter was really important (to name the kid after an older family member) for browsing names, but I guess some people want to search for a specific name.

I used to have the tables sortable, so we could re-sort the names based on least popular. The idea behind the clusters is that if you like a popular name, but it is too popular, then you can immediately look at its "cluster" and see all of the related names, then pick the least popular variant.

I built my site a few months and have been tweaking it and trying to get more exposure. There are some really bad baby name websites out there - and lots of them are in the top 10 search results for "baby names"... grrrr.

I thought I could make something better, and here it is.

At first, my unique angle were these scalable "clusters" of names (based on word similarity). And, I also had links to wikipedia grouped by name. I also had very detailed popularity charts over time.

Just recently, I made these US maps which are shaded by popularity for each state. That is a totally unique feature which is not available at any other baby name website. They are actually really interesting to explore.

Anyway, what do I do now? I want more visitors and better search ranking. I have some other ideas for the site itself - like to simplify the multiple page types ("cluster" page vs. "single name" page) into one page for name details. And I have a few other ideas with respect to the maps.

I think I am going to re-brand/rename my site to: BabyNamesAcrossAmerica.com since my main feedback from friends is that my URL is kinds of geeky and hard to remember. But, there are so many domains with "babyname" already taken.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Clusters makes it a bit too tech for regular people and a nice interface will be a plus; you don't want this site to be just for hackers.

Yeah, change the name; though maybe the new one is too long.

I agree, get rid of the "clusters" name.

But not only that, the search results page is too complex. What is "rank (modified)"? What is the "cluster popularity"?

The entire concept of the cluster chart is probably something most parents aren't interested in.

Thanks for the feedback, I have changed the column names. I'm not sure which chart you are referring to when you say "cluster chart" Are you talking about the bar chart? If so, then that is just the popularity over time, which each bar being a decade. Or, are you talking about the flash chary showing all the indivudal names' popularity?


Looks interesting. Keep in mind that this site is probably your best known competition when it comes to baby name charting: http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager

I heard about it probably 2 years ago when it first started getting some major press. Since then I haven't bothered looking for other baby name info sites (and I actually named a baby 5 months ago, so I speak from experience).

Yes, Baby Name Wizard is very popular. I reviewed that site and other on this blog article:


But, I think those charts are really confusing... I don't know why everyone likes them so much.

I found the site a little confusing (like the others on here).

Good concept - needs tweaks in the execution :D

Like: - Needs plain english (no jargon) - Explain what everything means(I still dont quite get what the clusters are and how they work).

This page is probably your best! http://www.babynameclusters.com/map/ nice and clear and intuitive.

The clusters page really needs a map. The graph can be a little confusing? no?

Pretty cool, I think simplifying the layout a bit would be good. Make it easy to access names by location, time, etc. Also, it would be cool to suggest other names based on preferences à la Amazon.com.

Blue links with yellow backgrounds on top of pink and lighter pink rows? With red graphs and a purplish logo? Get some advice from a professional designer. :)

It'd be sweet if you had name forecasting--based on trends, what names are due for a rise in popularity and which names are at their peak.

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