I have the same “wife/non-techie guests” acceptive factor.
In lieu of ISY-99, I have Indigo server on a Mac mini. I use several Insteon RF Mini remotes for lighting, might be worth considering as a hard remote for Simple Control Actions.
I think CEDIA is not a neutral venue for validation. Many installers/dealers are techie and may not represent the true consumer. After all, these are the guys that love Crestron and Control 4 and still want to charge $500 “programming fee” to change a “favorites” button. In the past, they charged $1000 to $2000 for a proprietary, sluggish, piece-of-junk touch pad. Now they are a little smarter - they let you bring your own iPad and then simply charge you a $1000 “licensing fee” to use it with their system!
A much better example is to look at the new Apple Remote for the Apple TV 4th gen. Although it now has a touchpad, significant attention was given to the “hard” buttons, and unlike the earlier remote, it has built-in hard buttons for “Volume up / volume down”.
If Apple could have found a way to eliminate all the buttons and go with a touchpad only remote, I’m sure they would have done that. Obviously, they know that consumers still want some hard buttons on their remote.