Vermonter17032 wrote:I am not sure why anyone would base their purchasing decision on the attractiveness of the web site, and not on the quality of the software.
I feel the same way, but many people are influenced by factors extrinsic to the actual software. This phenomenon applies in a variety of industries as well. I guess it's a type of halo effect.
As Wock mentioned, there's a reason for marketing and advertising.
Regarding design -and focusing on the software itself- I'm a fan of great design. Unfortunately these days eye-candy seems to be confused with design, and a "nice looking" application is considered a Mac-like application.
I'm happy with programs like Thinking Rock 2, Araxis software, Purify, and many others which may be considered ugly by many Mac users. As "ugly" as they are they work for me better than prettier alternatives.
Consideo Modeler will not win a beauty contest, and their website does not even have an online store. Support has been great and if we can figure out what's causing problems on my system which does not have the latest version of Java since it's PPC, chances are that I'll buy it.
Midnight Inbox has a beautiful interface, but when I tried it it was useless for me. The same applies to other "GTD" programs. Fortunately some developers are very open to constructive criticism. When I tried iGTD I told the developer about some features that the software was lacking, and very shortly thereafter he incorporated them or planned to incorporate them. But for many people these shiny applications are so incredible, so intuitive, and so Mac-like
OmniFocus got a lot of praise and 5-star reviews even as a buggy beta. OmniPlan is a joke compared to FastTrack Schedule or Merlin 2. Merlin actually has a nice balance of brawn and beauty.
I mention Omni because typically I have enjoyed their software in terms of both form and function.
I never got the hype behind programs like Disco or iClip 4, for example. Great marketing though.
OS X, and more recently OS X 10.5 also received a lot of praise. IMO it took Apple until 10.4 to finally deliver a great version of OS X. It did improve quite a bit with each release, starting with the awful public beta. For many people nothing Apple does can be bad, and they overlook bugs and problems and focus on how "cool" the software looks.
One of the nice things about many software developers is that they're receptive to ideas. Yesterday I emailed Araxis suggesting a couple of changes to a program's interface, and today I got a nice response mentioning that they're now formal "enhancement requests."
The same happened when Default Folder 4 came out with its black look so popular these days. I told Jon "I don’t mean to sound negative, but I hate the new look..." (It was a friendly comment, btw)
This happened one year ago (Dec 12, 2007), and by January 24, 2008, Jon offered the "Gray Sidebar" option. Even without that option I would use his software, but I like the fact that he's always receptive to feedback.
KeyCue for example has some nice options (Themes) in addition to the "Darth-Vader" look.
(As a side note I have not visited this forum for a long time, but the level of sophistication here and at the Devon forums is different than that of other forums where Cha-Ching, Disco, iClip, and other programs cannot be criticized and are the "best in class")
Sorry for the long rant