Skype home screen

Skype, the world’s most terrible video communicator

I’ve been a Skype user since the tool first came out.

I remember it having issues with quality of sound for a long time, but those issues were bearable since at the time connectivity was slow.

Over time, Skype voice quality improved.

It took many years for that to happen, but it happened.

The tool has been redesigned many times, but it seems like every time it has gone from better to worse.

There is a range of UX issues with Skype design, but this time round I would like to focus on the Skype home screen.

This has to be one of the least useful screens of any app on the planet.

It simply doesn’t do anything.

Cover shot of this article is a screenshot from the Skype Mac app.

Let’s take a look at what the same screen looks like on an iPad (I’ve covered my contacts with the rectangle for privacy reasons).

Homepage of Skype on iPad
Homepage of Skype on iPad. 60%+ of the screen estate is empty, as no conversations were selected, but this leaves a very ‘sad’ state of the app. Also selecting ‘Recent’ tab with alerts brings nothing of value to the user.

It looks and feels like nobody has ever put any thinking into it.

Further on, the navigation on the side is very static and passive in nature.

‘History’ link is the most useful for me, when it shows me recent conversations on the side there, but those conversations ‘time out’ after a while and I end up in a situation as shown on the screen.

To start a conversation with someone I first have to do a search for their name, which is often quite tricky as I may not remember their name.

This happens when I’m having to establish a contact with someone I met recently.

I could probably write a small booklet on various other issues that happen with Skype, including the ‘obligatory 15 minutes’ it typically takes to successfully establish a Skype group call.

This happens due to a mixture of UX and reliability factors that still plague Skype throughout the experience.

Overall, I’m always perplexed how a simple communication tool owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation such as Microsoft can have such poor UX.

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