I've been looking at our Gallery of screen captures from Microsoft's just-released Windows Vista beta 2 and Office 2007 beta 2. Beyond intense curiousity, I have been looking for some sort of VoIP-powered click-to-call feature that could bring up Messenger and initiate a call to converse about, or collaborate on, say, a just-saved or in-preparation PowerPoint presentation.
It seems that these new builds offer at least one baby step in that direction. As you can see at the top of this post, there's a "Call" phone icon in Outlook 2007. This appears to be integrated with the Outlook Address book, and would, presumably, bring up the calling client when clicked.
I choose my descriptors carefully: a baby step, but one that appears to be taken in isolation rather than as part of an effort to equip these new platforms and utilities with truly integrated voice.
Let us take a look at three other screens, and what I see as lost opportunities to include an easy click-to-call prompt.
Here's a view of part of the Vista main window. Don't you think a Phone icon would work well here? Start a call right away from the opening screen, rather than having to go directly to the Phone program itself?
Plenty of good places for a Phon, or a Call, icon. How about to the right of the Timer icon?
Now, let us suppose you are working on an Excel sheet, and want to call your colleague over IM to walk you through a couple of numbers you are scratching your head about:
Plenty of places to put a Call icon, or if you prefer, a Call pull-down menu that would enable you to enter the number in a box that would appear as one of the menu choices. All within the Excel 2007 screen.
OK, one more "just suppose." You want to have a "how does this look," voice conversation with a colleague about a PowerPoint slide show you are authoring. Maybe you are looking to include some information your colleague has privy to, but you aren't sure how to include the info in the slide show. A voice conversation might work things out. So why doesn't PowerPoint 2007 have a Call pull-down menu like the one I just suggested for Excel 2007?
Take a look:
I've got the place for a Call icon. Just to the right of the Print icon.