Skype Redesign Ditches Snapchat-Like Highlights Feature to Focus on 'Simplicity'

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Microsoft is to simplify the user experience of its Skype mobile and desktop apps, with the aim of returning the platform's focus to core services like calling and messaging.

In announcing the decision in a blog post, Microsoft acknowledged that the Snapchat-style redesign it introduced last year "didn't resonate with a majority of users" and had "overcomplicated" the platform, and said it hoped the new changes would make the service faster to learn and easier to use.


As a result, the Highlights and Capture features are being removed from the mobile app, leaving options for Chats, Calls, and Contacts at the bottom of the interface. Microsoft says users can download any Highlights they have posted in Skype until September 30, 2018.

Meanwhile over on desktop, buttons for Chats, Calls, Contacts, and Notifications are being moved to the top left of the application window, which should make more sense for veteran Skype users. In addition, contacts are being "updated for simplicity" to make them easier to discover.


Visually, Microsoft says it has "toned down" the range of the gradients available in the light and dark themes, and it's also reintroducing the simplified Skype "Classic" blue theme, with subtle adjustments for contrast and readability.

Lastly, some decorative elements have been removed from the Skype interface to provide users with "a more elegant experience" that brings the focus back to content.

"This is only the beginning and you can expect many more updates over the next several months as we continue to simplify and improve the core experiences around calling, chat, and contacts," said Skype design director Peter Skillman. "While we have plenty of work left to do, we hope you find these changes simplify your experience and bring you closer to those who matter."

Article Link: Skype Redesign Ditches Snapchat-Like Highlights Feature to Focus on 'Simplicity'
 

Kaibelf

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Apr 29, 2009
2,445
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Silicon Valley, CA
Thank god! Way too many of these companies are trying to be all things to all people and just producing useless facsimiles of other products. Stand out and stand by your unique offering and win. Endlessly walk behind someone else like a puppy and just mimic and you’ll never be more than a commoditized knock-off. Not everything needs a bajillion dumb filters and stickers, dopey feeds and gimmicks to “drive engagement.”
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
Another all-white design that looks way too overly simplistic and abysmal. Why does all software design today look like it’s gone back 30 years? Simple is good, but I hate this complete-bare-bones-plain-text-on-a-white background crap. All of them take the “simplistic” approach way too literal.
Seems as if Microsoft avoided the exact thing you're complaining about.;)
Visually, Microsoft says it has "toned down" the range of the gradients available in the light and dark themes, and it's also reintroducing the simplified Skype "Classic" blue theme, with subtle adjustments for contrast and readability.
 

SegPip

macrumors member
Aug 1, 2018
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Chattanooga, Tennessee
Too bad I have no idea what "Snapchat feature" they're referring to.

I haven't used Skype in around 10 years.

In 2003, Skype was ahead of its time; however, FaceTime is now the standard for video calling (at least for my friends/family).

That Skype desktop dark mode does look sleek though!
 

loybond

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Aug 1, 2010
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The True North, Strong and Free
Skype has always been very good at it's core service. I definitely like FaceTime better too, for a number of reasons, but keep in mind that FaceTime is limited to Apple devices.

Skype is multi platform, and has more penetration than most apps like that, perhaps with the exception of Whats App, which interestingly enough, has abysmal video and audio quality.

Since Apple will not likely make FaceTime available on other platforms, I'd like to see Google come up with something that can work out in the long run. There was hangouts, then Allo and Duo... Nothing has really stuck.

Too bad I have no idea what "Snapchat feature" they're referring to.

I haven't used Skype in around 10 years.

In 2003, Skype was ahead of its time; however, FaceTime is now the standard for video calling (at least for my friends/family).

That Skype desktop dark mode does look sleek though!
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
Since Apple will not likely make FaceTime available on other platforms...
Even if Apple wanted to make FaceTime available cross-platform, they wouldn't do it because the specter of more VirnetX patent lawsuits is pretty unattractive.

I'd like to see Google come up with something that can work out in the long run. There was hangouts, then Allo and Duo... Nothing has really stuck.
Google isn't committed to any one thing long enough for it to take hold. It's a literal (figuratively speaking) see what sticks scenario 'cept they don't stay around long enough to see if anything stuck.
 

S G

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Aug 7, 2012
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Try FaceTiming someone with a 3-5mbps connection (wifi or cellular), even if just audio, and see how frustrating it can be. Packets of voice stopping and then suddenly reappearing in acceleration, and generally, very very poor quality. Say what you want, but Skype has been my default over FaceTime for all my calls with my family who have Macs or iPhones. At least, if the quality degrades, you still see pixelated images and sounds remain audible, while FaceTime will constantly freeze unless you have perfect gigabyte connections on both ends. And at least with Skype, you can turn video on and off, while FaceTime will not let you remove video once you started it.

Glad that Skype offers simpler, clearer options again for my aging parents.
 

loybond

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2010
556
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The True North, Strong and Free
Skype stays connected longer than other apps sometimes, yeah. Facetime seems to be all-or-nothing with video; it'll just go to "poor connection" right away rather than lowering the quality of the video like Skype.

However, quality wise Facetime is generally a lot better, both for audio and video. Plus for parent types, it helps that it's not really an app that they have to make sure they're signed into exactly (just the one time they set it up).

I think a Skype engineer was once quoted as being amazed at how they've developed better algorithms than them despite not having years of experience.

Try FaceTiming someone with a 3-5mbps connection (wifi or cellular), even if just audio, and see how frustrating it can be. Packets of voice stopping and then suddenly reappearing in acceleration, and generally, very very poor quality. Say what you want, but Skype has been my default over FaceTime for all my calls with my family who have Macs or iPhones. At least, if the quality degrades, you still see pixelated images and sounds remain audible, while FaceTime will constantly freeze unless you have perfect gigabyte connections on both ends. And at least with Skype, you can turn video on and off, while FaceTime will not let you remove video once you started it.

Glad that Skype offers simpler, clearer options again for my aging parents.
 
Another all-white design that looks way too overly simplistic and abysmal. Why does all software design today look like it’s gone back 30 years? Simple is good, but I hate this complete-bare-bones-plain-text-on-a-white background crap. All of them take the “simplistic” approach way too literal.
Where have you been? Apple led the way towards this several years ago, doing away with richly-colored, even 3D presentations to the blander, flatter mobile OS. Apple pushed the tag "modern" with that change and the press ran with Apple's direction: "a more modern, flatter design" and similar appeared in every story... like "modern" was a synonym for bland & flat. Then the fans poured in to support whatever a corporation wants them to like, so "we" ridiculed richly-colored design on other platforms while expressing our love for Apple's choices.

Now, here we are, what- maybe 5+ years into this "modern flatter" design lead? Are we bored with bland & flat yet?
  • Publicly: absolutely not- we love the "modern" flat design used by Apple iOS.
  • Privately: we may be quite bored but we can't reconcile having personal opinions that conflict with what our favorite corporation has chosen to utilize.
So Skype is just falling in line. Personally, I've always been a big fan of Skype, even OVER FaceTime (mostly because the latter only allows communication within the walled garden and most of the real world can't be found exclusively inside of those walls). (The fundamentals of) Skype has always worked great, quality of sound has always been high and Skype doesn't care what kind of devices are on each end: mobile to/from laptop, desktop to/from laptop, mobile to/from TV-attached device, etc. Windows or macOS, Android or iOS, etc doesn't even matter. It "just works" without bias to any particular technology, OS or platform. Many of "us" will hate on it because Apple offers a direct competitor, but if one wants to do what it does, odds are high that Skype will connect with far more contacts than FaceTime... especially for those of us that use our Apple tech for business purposes.

I'm glad Skype keeps evolving for Apple tech. In the business software toolbox, it covers a key base.
 
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ChrisMoBro

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Oct 31, 2016
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Another all-white design that looks way too overly simplistic and abysmal. Why does all software design today look like it’s gone back 30 years? Simple is good, but I hate this complete-bare-bones-plain-text-on-a-white background crap. All of them take the “simplistic” approach way too literal.
Because it makes so much more sense from a design perspective. I hated the skeuomorphic approach of the early iPhone days. Now everything is much clearer. It puts function over form. In theory, having such a simple design should result in faster software too.
 

justperry

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Aug 10, 2007
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I'm a rolling stone.
Try FaceTiming someone with a 3-5mbps connection (wifi or cellular), even if just audio, and see how frustrating it can be. Packets of voice stopping and then suddenly reappearing in acceleration, and generally, very very poor quality. Say what you want, but Skype has been my default over FaceTime for all my calls with my family who have Macs or iPhones. At least, if the quality degrades, you still see pixelated images and sounds remain audible, while FaceTime will constantly freeze unless you have perfect gigabyte connections on both ends. And at least with Skype, you can turn video on and off, while FaceTime will not let you remove video once you started it.

Glad that Skype offers simpler, clearer options again for my aging parents.

Hmmm, I had the exact opposite experience, I tried many Apps and no-one comes even near to the quality of Audio video of FaceTime.
Skype was good a decade ago, now there's plenty of other and better options.


Because it makes so much more sense from a design perspective. I hated the skeuomorphic approach of the early iPhone days. Now everything is much clearer. It puts function over form. In theory, having such a simple design should result in faster software too.
But the low contrast is a pain in the behind for 50+ old people.
I didn't really like the those things you mentioned but what I did like is the 3D Icons, brings a lot more "life" into the desktop on macOS and on the springboard in iOS.
 
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ThunderSkunk

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The bland flat, white, text adventure like windows 3.1 in the 90”s, gmail in the 00”s, and OSX in the 10’s, is easier and cheaper than a complex, busy ui like aqua, and appeals to people who fantasize about living in a sterile world, grew up in a culture where art is a dirty word, and can’t handle being confronted with representactive imagery, preferring to instead read words off of lists of words literally and then choose the desired option.

Next major ui advancement: CLI only, we move beyond ui’s and do all our computing via the terminal. Finally, computers come full circle.
 

Mac Fly (film)

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Skype, the app, has been an absolute mess since Microsoft acquired the company. Just look at the mess that is the Microsoft account website where you might subscribe to office 365 etc. to see how lacking Microsoft is on the design and human experience front. Microsoft has tried to rebrand themselves to be like Apple, but her beauty is only skin deep. There are worms in there. I said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s not so much how great Apple are, but how lacking most other companies are.
 
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kmj2318

macrumors 68000
Aug 22, 2007
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“Meanwhile over on desktop, buttons for Chats, Calls, Contacts, and Notifications are being moved to the top left of the application window, ”

Aren’t they already? I don’t understand what changed here.
 

gaanee

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2011
1,354
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There was a news that Apple had to defer its plans for cross-platform Facetime because of patent dispute.
How does Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook get around this and only Apple is targeted with this patent?

Even if Apple wanted to make FaceTime available cross-platform, they wouldn't do it because the specter of more VirnetX patent lawsuits is pretty unattractive.


Google isn't committed to any one thing long enough for it to take hold. It's a literal (figuratively speaking) see what sticks scenario 'cept they don't stay around long enough to see if anything stuck.
 
Skype, Hangouts, Facebook WANT to do it. Apple doesn't really want to do it. Note how (other) patent disputes don't exactly inhibit Apple when it actually wants to do something. Apple just does it and then sicks the lawyers on whoever has a patent claim... and the fans quickly cast the patent holder as troll, whether they actually are one or not.

If Apple wanted FaceTime to be cross-platform, it would be. Patents are no obstacle for any 64,000LB Gorilla. Work around whatever it is (if actually anything) or just steamroll & litigate the patent holder to death.

But it does SOUND like a good excuse to justify NOT fulfilling something Apple said it would do in the FaceTime launch, long, long ago (2010).

I had high hopes for cross-platform too. But Skype still does the job well and seems to have no problem working across hardware, software, operating systems, etc. Sometimes an Apple alternative "just works" better (much more broadly) than the Apple option (see also Google Maps vs. Apple Maps, Spotify vs AM, etc). FaceTime works well for Apple-to-Apple people communications. Too bad the vast majority of the world is NOT made up of Apple people. Fortunately, we all have the options to use whichever option "just works" best for our own purposes.
 
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lunarworks

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Jun 17, 2003
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Toronto, Canada
The bland flat, white, text adventure like windows 3.1 in the 90”s, gmail in the 00”s, and OSX in the 10’s, is easier and cheaper than a complex, busy ui like aqua, and appeals to people who fantasize about living in a sterile world, grew up in a culture where art is a dirty word, and can’t handle being confronted with representactive imagery, preferring to instead read words off of lists of words literally and then choose the desired option.

Next major ui advancement: CLI only, we move beyond ui’s and do all our computing via the terminal. Finally, computers come full circle.
I went to art school, and I prefer minimalist design. Especially when it comes to functionality.

Not everything needs to look like an American football broadcast or a video game.
 

miflgr92

macrumors member
Jun 29, 2018
59
265
I wish WhatsApp would do the same thing! I miss having a dedicated favorites tab and contacts tab. I do not have a single friend who posts a “story” on WhatsApp so a whole section dedicated to this feature is a waste for me.
 
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