So my wife and I have a problem. When it came to our first child, naming him was no big deal. We had a name picked out fairly early, we both loved it and everything was great. But now, just two months away from kiddo No. 2 coming out, we have no idea what we’re going to name her. Making things more complicated, we’re locked into a naming convention, so our selection is even narrower.
In the interest of figuring out the problem, I turned to the iPad and Baby Names. Could it be the solution to our baby naming issue, or just another deadbeat dad in a sea of crummy apps? Let’s find out after the jump.
A Little Backstory
Although my wife and I don’t want to be the geeky couple who names their kids the same way, we do have a problem. There are three of us in the family so far with a first name that starts with the letter K. By changing that first initial, it might be a little weird for our future daughter later on, so we want to stick within the theme. That, and we think it’s kind of cool.
But this leaves us in a limited situation. There are multiple websites you can go to to find baby names for free, but most of them are either complicated to navigate or riddled with horrible ads. Although Baby Names falls into that latter category (kinda), it’s still much easier to find what you need.
To start my search, I started in the appropriately named Search section, which gave me a blank canvas to work with. When viewed horizontally, the left side of the screen contains five blank fields: Gender, Starts With, Meaning, Origin and Popularity. Each one has their own set of selections, with the exception of Starts With and Meaning. Both are fairly self explanatory, but also help narrow down the field.
In my case, I started with Gender (female), Starts with (the letter K) and hit the Search button. The results came pouring in, and they were pretty comprehensive. Although other sites have shown me lots of girl’s names starting with K, this was the first time that I felt like it was a truly deep search.
When you tap each listing, the information about each name appears on the right. There are also toggles that you can select, so if you want a map of where the name originates you have that option, or if you prefer graphs of your data you can get that as well. There is also a Wikipedia listing about the name as well, but this is hit or miss. Sometimes I found the name had little to no information, and there was just a blank listing. At other times, it was an issue with a mix-up on Wikipedia’s end. It wasn’t a deal breaker, just weird.
In addition, there are heart symbols at the top of each screen. Tap a heart to designate your feelings towards the name, and that also adds it to your Favorites list. That way, you can refer to these names later on and compare your favs. For my wife and I, that was a very helpful tool.
Beyond the Name
If you want more information about baby names, or just cool statistics on names in general, there are a few other options. For example, if you hit the Popularity icon at the bottom of the screen, you can see what names are popular for specific years. My name was #15 the year I was born, which, at the end of the day, means very little (although it is kinda cool).
Say you want to determine a name based on its ethnic origin. Fortunately, there’s an Origin tab that lets you find just that. Pick an origin — Arthurian Legend, for example — and you’re given lots of names that fit that criteria. My wife has an Irish background, so I checked there and found quite a few K options that suited our needs. That was handy.
The Annoying Stuff
Although I was thrilled with the app, one thing that I hated was the presence of ads. They’re everywhere when you run it the first time, so much so that it’s distracting. It makes you want to throw your iPad through a window — or at least, that’s how I felt.
There is a workaround, but it involves in-app purchasing. For $1.99, you can free yourself from the tyranny of ads, losing all of the banners that populate the interface in the process. I paid it with no problem because I was happy with the app, but you may feel differently. The only added features with the Premium upgrade include adding your own special names, name suggestions sent via push messaging and a genie for asking questions. The Genie feature is nice, but for me, the sell is removing the ads. Again though, it’s your call.
The End Result
So do we officially have a name yet? No, but Baby Names gave us quite a few more ideas to work with, that’s for sure. And even though I had to pay $1.99 to get rid of the ads, it was a still a helpful enough tool that I’d gladly pay more.
But this only really helps if you’re having a baby or looking for a name. And if you’re in the same position that I’m in, having Baby Names on your side will come in really handy.