I'm posting this from the Sands Exhibition Center, which is the Consumer Electronics Show's overflow exhibition and conference facility here in Las Vegas.
Just had demos of the new softphone from NetZero Voice, as well as Packet 8's new softphone.
Unlike more familar softphones such as Skype - these softphones are, in a word, pretty. The dialpad, especially on NetZero Voice, is far larger than Skype's ugly product, with large keys that are easy to read.
I even talked to a NetZero tech manager about this. Since very few of their existing customers also are already set up with VoIP, and their demos tend to skew toward older users with less technical experience (and I might add, maybe a bit less visual acuity, having a big honking interface with easy-to-read buttons is far from an arbitrary choice. It's knowing who your customers are - or who you hope they are.
Then, you design products that will appeal to them. Simple navigation, clearly marked control icons and keys, numbers and letters that can be read by those for whom small, busy print and a cluttered, feature-rich bunch of icons are a challenge to read.
Sounds like Marketing 101, people. And it is. Amazingly, though, not all companies know this. Corporate cultures that foster innovative technology at the risk of going over people's heads- and eyes- deserve to be flogged in this blog.
But when a company gets it right - like NetZero Voice has done with their softphone, then they will be praised.
Which is what you have just read.