Webster’s Dictionary defines “doorbell” this way: “a bell inside a house or building that is rung usually by pushing a button beside an outside door.” How quaint. Now the doorbell has gone all smart. Take Ding, for example. Ding is a smart doorbell that looks sleek and stylish but has more, er, bells and whistles under its charming exterior.

It has three elements that work together seamlessly: a discreet doorbell button that’s fixed near your front door, a doorbell chime that looks cool and alerts you in your home when a visitor arrives and a free app for your smartphone.

Using the wonders of modern technology, the Ding system lets you speak to the person ringing your doorbell from anywhere in the world: When he or she presses the doorbell button, the chime rings in your home and at the same time connects to the Ding app on your smartphone. Just imagine: The FedEx delivery person is at your door and rings the bell. You, speaking from your hotel room in Paris: “Hi! Can you please leave the box with Will Starrett at number 43 next door? Thank you!”

Of course, the instant-talk feature could be handy in other situations too, such as if you’re bathing a child when the visitor rings the doorbell. You can ask them to wait for a minute until the baby is safely out of the tub and all dried and dressed.

The British design team of John Nussey and Avril O’Neil came up with the Ding system to strike a balance between old-fashioned and too complicated.

“At the moment there are either ‘dumb doorbells’ that come with your house or are bought in a rush from a hardware store or ‘smart doorbells’ that are driven by technology, offering you more features than you could ever use,” they explain.

They wanted their smart home solution to be simple to set up and use; beautiful, since the chime will be seen in your home; and smart, to keep pace with all the other life conveniences you have on your phone already.

We think they succeeded.

The doorbell button fixture is small and simple, and it comes in a choice of colors to match your front door. Its slim profile means it can fit on your door frame itself, so there’s no need to drill into walls. The chime is a fabric-covered speaker, and again, it comes with choices, this time letting you select the material to complement your decor. The chime can either sit on a shelf or be mounted on the wall, depending on your preference.

As for setup, you can either hard-wire the Ding to your home or run it on battery power. The button connects via Wi-Fi to the chime, and it has a range of around 120 feet.

Find the chime too loud? No problem. You can use the Ding app to lower the volume or change the sound, and you can even set it to mute when you’re heading off to bed.

Ding hit its funding target on Kickstarter this month, and Nussey and O’Neil are now accepting preorders.