Microsoft Brings Skype’s Mobile UI to the Desktop And It’s All My Fault

Posted on August 17, 2017 by Brad Sams in Skype with 31 Comments

Earlier this year, Microsoft released a major update for Skype that completely overhauled the interface for mobile users. Ever since that roll out, I have been dreading that they would bring this UI to the desktop as the content density, navigation, and extra components like Highlights were a mess.

Starting today, Microsoft is releasing a beta of the updated Skype for the desktop and it brings with it the same style as the mobile UI. But, I have been using this app for a few days and I can tell you that it is not as bad as you would think and honestly, I think it is headed in the right direction.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been calling/emailing back and forth with the Skype team, highlighting my concerns with the mobile app. Everything from features to navigation has been discussed in detail and I have to tell you, they have been extremely receptive to the constructive criticism that has been provided not only by me but the entire community.

Since the launch of the revamped app for mobile, the team has improved content density dramatically and there are also a couple of updates coming down the pipeline that I have seen that will further improve the text input too. Still on the agenda is navigation but I suspect that will be addressed in the near future.

But the important thing is they are listening and not only that, they are releasing updates quickly that are dramatically improving the experience of the mobile app. I have been a frequent and vocal voice complaining about the changes to Skype but the service and apps are finally starting to come together to create a product that is stable and reliable. Granted, by writing this, I suspect it will cause some sort of outage to prove me wrong but for the most part, the backend has been relatively stable (compared to earlier issues with Skype) and now the front end is slowly coming together.

One new feature that I do quite like is the ‘gallery’. By clicking a button next to the chat window, it strips out only the links and the images you have shared which makes it quite easy to find historical content in your conversations.

I will say that the new desktop app works well. At the end of the day, it’s Skype and for simple chat and video communication, it looks like they are going back to the basics and getting those features right with this update but it’s not all perfect.

The header is still massive and is likely oversized but on a large display, this isn’t too much of an issue. Another problem some users may have is that you cannot break out the conversations into their own window; I know for some, this is a make or break feature. Also, oddly, this is not for Windows 10 users but the app did install just fine on my desktop PC.

Aside from these two items, the updated Skype app with the new design…is actually ok and I’m not as upset by this release as I thought I would be when I first saw the mobile app. If you have been using the modern app, I do recommend trying the new iteration as I believe it is superior to the current release version.

 

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