I was having a conversation about Windows 8 with a cousin of mine and it’s funny – this issue has started popping up in discussions.
I’m talking about the name “Charms”.
Microsoft use the name to describe a series of icons that show up when you hover on the right side of the screen or over the start menu.
The “Charms” contain 4 different icons:
- Search – Self Explanatory – Comprehensive search that goes throughout your system to find whatever file or application you’re looking for.
- Share – Making Windows 8 more social – allows you to share things using applications that automatically post your material on social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
- Devices – Allows you to externalize your screen content by either printing it, playing it on a particular screen, or sharing it with a device nearby.
- Settings – Basically the options previously found in the Windows Control Panel.
So those are charms but that’s not the point of the article.
Who came up with that name and why?
Let’s take a look at the dictionary and see how charms are defined.
1. The power or quality of pleasing or delighting; attractiveness: a breezy tropical setting of great charm.
2. A particular quality that attracts; a delightful characteristic: A mischievous grin was among the child’s many charms.
3. A small ornament, such as one worn on a bracelet.
4. An item worn for its supposed magical benefit, as in warding off evil; an amulet.
5. An action or formula thought to have magical power.
6. The chanting of a magic word or verse; incantation.
7. Physics A quantum property of the charm quark whose conservation explains the absence of certain strange-particle decay modes and that accounts for the longevity of the J particle.
v. charmed, charm·ing, charms
1. To attract or delight greatly: the simple elegance of the meal charmed the guests.
2. To induce by using strong personal attractiveness: charmed the guard into admitting them without invitations.
3. To cast or seem to cast a spell on; bewitch.
1. To be alluring or pleasing.
2. To function as an amulet or charm.
3. To use magic spells.
Now I swear I don’t mean to be an old man or a party pooper but my God, who let this name through?
I’m from West Africa where I can tell you that charms are more synonymous with evil and bad fortune than anything else. Even Irish lucky charms are synonymous with magic.
While a lot of people may not care or think those concerns are silly, I am looking at it from a Marketing and branding perspective.
Why the hell would anyone let that name go through if there was even a hint of negativity associated with that name?
Honestly, in light of the fact that a grouping of Windows functionality has nothing to do with the definitions of the word, it seems to me that maybe the developers were looking for a name for that feature and settled on charms temporarily.
Maybe they thought they would come back to it as some point in the future and just got lazy about it.
My 10 cents (like they care) is CHANGE IT.
It’s a strange name, it doesn’t accurately describe the functionality, it sounds childish, it is culturally insensitive and it’s just downright confusing.
This is technology. We expect names like “recycle bin” or “start menu” or “control panel”.
Which IT professional wants to tell another man or woman to open up their charms?
What do you guys and girls think?