Fixing up the new Skype app.

So a while back Skype launched an update to its new App.

Although I give praise and personally like the general design style, it massively just lacks usability, which, with only some simple changes, along with nips and tucks and they would’ve had a great app. But sadly it’s plagued with weird button placement and confusing menus.

The first thing anyone would notice is—who at Skype approved white text on a gradient? And it’s even worse when your friend sends over the ol’ block o’ text. And finally, the nail in the coffin is that half the gradient doesn’t even pass the readability test.

Sure, you can change the theme to black or a flat color — which is impossible to find — but why would you make the default option…that?

Next is the button placement. All of the buttons are in unusual locations; this is not an app that you can open right away and be able to use. Particularly with the button for ‘Photos’ being on the right, I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to send a photo over but instead tapped on the sticker button.

At first, I thought the ‘Find’ tab was a search function for your chat, but it isn’t. It’s a page for apps. Why is it called ‘Find’? You don’t even think of apps the slightest. The definition of ‘Find’ is ‘discover or perceive by chance or unexpectedly,’ according to Google.

Capture. I understand you want to be like Snapchat with your ‘Highlights,’ following in the footsteps of Facebook’s addition of Stories to IG, Messenger, and their main app, but you don’t have the active and concrete user base, plus the friend network that they have. The people that use Skype are doing conference calls, or are gamers who never met in real life and definitely won’t share their life story on there. The latter is moving to Discord for a reason.

Well, now that that is over, here’s a simple fix to the main chat that I made in 20 minutes.

So much better! The first thing you’ll see is that your friend’s chat bubbles are no longer white text on a gradient. Yay! You can actually read it now without hurting your eyes.

The buttons are exactly where you’d expect them to be, camera and photo on the left. I moved the ‘Find’ and ‘Capture’ buttons from the completely removed menu on top to at the bottom, where they should be: where people usually tap, and within reach when you’re holding your phone in one hand.

To create a genuinely usable app you don’t lay out your app differently, you put everything where people are used to it being, which allows people to actually know what button does what, naming your app window ‘find’ is exactly not what you should do.

The Skype app has many more issues but if they go in the direction of actually designing for their user base a user-friendly interface you’d have an app that people actually want to use.

jennmueng.com