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

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."

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
16 months ago
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.”
Rating: 13 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
I think it's great that they're listening to feedback! I must say I like the Microsoft of today quite a lot. :) **takes cover**
Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
Oh, so no Stories in Excel? :-(
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago

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.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
Thank God. The Skype interface has become my most hated app, but I have to use it for work fairly often for important meetings.
Hey MS: Just make the calls work, contact list readable, and have buttons with icons that convey some idea of what they might do! Million dollar idea, I know...
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
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!

Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
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.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
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.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
Since MS took over Skype it has gotten worse with every single update.

Why is it so complicated to make a group call with someone from skype and a phone number? Even though I synced my entire contacts it often does not work or is really complicated to set up.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
16 months ago
React Native garbage. Just a quick look and you see it’s not a native app. How the great have fallen.
Rating: 3 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]