Skype ditches 'overcomplicated' Snapchat-like feature, goes back to basics

Skype has redesigned its interface again following customer feedback that it had “overcomplicated” some of its core scenarios. This included a previous new function called Highlights which was compared to Snapchat’s Stories feature.

“This past year we explored some design changes and heard from customers that we overcomplicated some of our core scenarios. Calling became harder to execute and Highlights didn’t resonate with a majority of users,” Peter Skillman, director of design for Skype and Outlook, said in a recent Skype blog post, adding:

We needed to take a step back and simplify!

The new design looks to refocus on the fundamentals of why most customers use Skype – which is to make calls, usually with video, and send messages. According to Skillman, the new navigation removes “redundant and underused features that create clutter” to allow users greater ease in finding the people they want to contact in an instant.

On mobile, Skype is moving to three buttons at the bottom of the app—Chats, Calls, and Contacts. By removing Highlights and Capture, Skype looks to achieve a cleaner and more efficient user interface (UI) which is easy to navigate yet still functional. On desktop, Skype has moved buttons for Chats, Calls, Contacts, and Notifications to the top left of the window to allow long-time Skype users more understanding and familiarity in using the platform.

On the aesthetic front, Skype said it has toned down the visual range of the gradients on the platform and reintroduced a simplified Skype “Classic” blue theme which has been adjusted for contrast and readability. Decorative elements such as notifications with a squiggle shape cut out have also been reduced in a bid to create a more elegant experience which prioritises content.

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To allow users to give their feedback on the design, Skype has also created a new UserVoice site to allow users to vote on feature changes which they want the company to prioritise.

“We are listening to your feedback and are wholly committed to improving the Skype experience based on what you are telling us. We hope this updated design makes Skype easier to use and provides a better Skype experience,” Skillman said.

Skype has not been the only social or chat platform to take a leaf out of Snapchat when it comes to design and user interface. In 2016, Instagram introduced the Stories into the feature, a move which saw Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admitting that new feature was indeed inspired by Snapchat. However, the move has proven to be a more effective one for the photo sharing platform, which revealed over 300 million users on the format in November 2017.

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)