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 28 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next to the chat window, it strips out only the links and the images you have shared which makes it quite easy to find historical content in your conversations.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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Comments (31)

31 responses to “Microsoft Brings Skype’s Mobile UI to the Desktop And It’s All My Fault”

  1. LuxuryTravelled

    Does it affect the SMS relay integration?

  2. mruszczyk

    I can only imagine this will come down the pipe to the UWP app. I'm honestly excited to have Skype at parity and consistant across all possible platforms. I just hope the UWP can match feature for feature.

  3. Waethorn

    Thanks for nothing, Brad!

  4. Rycott

    I'm wondering if this will eventually replaced the current Modern App on the Windows 10 store?


    I'm sure that will say a lot about the future of Modern UWP Apps if even Microsoft ends up replacing them.

  5. prettyconfusd

    Looks great! A shame the UWP doesn't look like this though. Did the Skype team talk about that at all?


    I mean, it makes sense to have it available on macOS and Win7/8, but the UWP is a mess at the moment - it's a bit of the beta it was before with some of these new mobile features hacked on and none of it gels together well at all.

  6. Winner

    "Feel the Power of the Dark Side...."

  7. Stooks

    Looks like iMessage on the Mac.


    Can you move from mobile to desktop in midstream? Reliably?

  8. Nonmoi

    Click brad much?

    You really had me for a sec., then I look at the actual interface, which was not bad at all.

  9. AliMaggs

    Hi Brad... It actually doesn't look awful!


    Shouldn't this sentence be the other way around, though...


    "Starting today, Microsoft is releasing a beta of the updated Skype for the desktop (the modern app, not the desktop app)"


    Thinking that should read "(the desktop app, not the modern app)"...?

  10. Bdsrev

    The real problem is people complaining every time software is changed, it's gotten ridiculous. The new Skype apps are fine, including this one. The only real mistake Skype has made recently was when they briefly split the app into 3 different components for Windows 10, but thankfully they came to their senses and put them back together to make 1 modern Skype app. There's a reason so many people use Skype; it's very good. Google doesn't have a messaging app and Apple refuses to make theirs cross platform

  11. Martin Pelletier

    Did they fixed your "Reset Settings" problem you were having Brad? :)

  12. Tony Barrett

    From the outset, UWP was primarily designed with mobile in mind. If Microsoft's mobile push had paid off, that would have been the only API you could code for on mobile, and thus would have been successful in it's original design goal. The fact Win10 desktop could also run UWP apps from their store was a bonus, but with MS knowing Win10 was the 'last' desktop version, and not the primary company focus anymore, mobile was everything - but we know where that's now gone. So, UWP is now floundering - an API without a real purpose with consumers and developers who don't care. On the desktop, it's not as capable as Win32 (an API MS are desperate to retire), but MS know that they have to keep pushing UWP as much as they can, because if they ever do re-enter the mobile space, they'll need it. The big problem is, MS are likely going to have to re-invent their mobile solution yet again in the guise of Andromeda, but in reality, whatever they come up with - again - is too little, too late.

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