The UX of URL Names

At work, there are a few servers that are getting launched for a new service.  I said that the name of the URL is a design element and users will see it and react to it.  I got several looks of disbelief, but I pushed on this as a strong UX principle.

The user is always looking for signs of life in your application.  One glimmer of humanity and humor will enhance their mood a hundred fold.

The original url was  This worked perfectly for the system administrators to know that the url was for a server (duh) in Dallas-Ft. Worth and it was the first one.  However, the user would interpret this as a robotic unfriendly name devised by robotic unfriendly people.

So I started coming up with names.  Silly names, inspiring names, serious names, Elements, planets, scientists, rock bands of the 80’s.  All of the sudden everyone in the office was participating with tremendous energy.  They were screaming out names and laughing uproariously.  They were enthusiastically and totally engaged in the name of something they scoffed at 2 hours ago.

We ended up with  It starts with D, which is good enough to know the city and still has a number.  Yet, it also has life.  It is more geared towards women than men, but it makes sense for the user base.  It has flair and personality.

Everything you do, even down to the URL of your application is indicating your personality and philosophy.  Use those opportunities to communicate wisely.  Communicate with life and don’t let your system administrators name (or design) your application.

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