If you want your bioinformatics software to have a memorable name, it helps if the name is pronounceable

Image from she is geeky blog

There is a new paper in the journal Bioinformatics:

The paper describes a new method for implementing a Principle Components Analysis (PCA) of data. That new method has a name. That name has just seven characters. How hard can it be to pronounce?

  • S4VDPCA: ess-four-vee-dee-pee-cee-ay

It doesn't exactly trip off the tongue and having four 'ee-sounding' letters together (VDPC) doesn't make it easy to remember. When I first came across this paper, I skimmed the article, waited an hour, and then tried to remember the name. I could remember that it included '4', 'V', and 'D', but couldn't remember the order (or that it also included an 'S')

It is by no means essential that bioinformatics tools have easily pronounceable names, but this will help people remember the name of your software. In turn, this makes it easier for people to tell others about your software. I don't imagine that bioinformatics software developers ever want to overhear the following type of conversation:

Bob: "You should use that tool"

Sue: "What tool?"

Bob: "Umm, you know that PCA thingy. The S…something, something…PCA tool"

Sue: "The what?"

Bob: "Run a Google search for Bioinformatics PCA tools, it's probably the top hit."

Sue: <- facepalm ->