Skype’s interface for desktop, which we’ve been familiar for over 6 years, retired in november and will not be available to use after that date. The decision Microsoft made to improve Skype and increase the number of users is likely to affect people relying skype for personal communication and business purposes. Let’s have a look at what will change in new Skype:
As an 11 years of Skyper, I regularly use Skype to communicate with my friends. In this 11 years as I remember, Skype has gone to a complete interface change for the 2nd time, except minor changes After the popular version 3. The transition from version 3 to version 4 has also led to a lot of negative reactions; but the interface introduced in version 4 was developed and maintained until the end of version 7 up to this year.
After introducing Windows 10, Microsoft has developed Skype version specifically for the new OS. This particular version works synced with Skype versions for Mobile with similar approach. However, users with other Windows versions were using Skype 7. Most users were very satisfied, but some problems were annoying either.
- Synchronization issues between mobile versions and desktop client
- Mobile users were often appearing with the status away for desktop users
- Some Text messages and contacts were missing and there was a time confusion running Skype on mobile and desktop at the same time
The issues I listed above are the most common reasons. Apart from these, there are many technical details and above all, a strategic plan. That’s why Skype has been completely renewed. The new Skype is available for all Windows versions, including Windows 10, starting from Windows 7. Windows 10 users have the option to choose using Skype for Windows 10, or the new Skype introduced for all Windows versions.
The new Skype, which comes with a Chrome-based web interface, is fairly simple and loads in seconds. As soon as you launch Skype, you will see a list that contains your latest conversations. Here you can go to your contacts, Select active contacts from the filter, and start chatting! Your active contacts show you the people using Skype at that moment. You can find other contacts from the search box. It’s now also possible to see their last seen.
Since Skype’s web interface doesn’t open an additional window, you don’t have the chance to manage conversations in seperate windows. But switching between conversations is not that hard. I’m sure that a keyboard shortcut will be added for switching among conversations. It is now possible to respond to a message with a reaction emoji, as well as quoting a message like you can in the mobile version. Users also now able to record voice and group calls. This feature will make Skype more attractive for corporate use. If you want to make a conference call, you will now should first create a group and then either start a voice or a video call to the group.
It’s no longer possible to see and hear a notification when a person becomes online or logs out of Skype. This will be a big trouble for most of us as we got used to these notifications. Now you will need to check your active contacts in regular intervals.
Completely inspired from iOS and Android versions, the new Skype for desktop will work like a desktop version of a mobile messaging application. This means that we will first see improvements in mobile versions in my opinion.
People at Microsoft accessibility team are working really hard to make Skype 8 more accessible. As the new version displays like a web page, it is important that screen readers and users now should need to understand this method better. You may need to turn off virtual navigation mode To navigate through menus and messages. As an NVDA user, I can use the new version by doing the same. It’s hard to believe, but the new interface has far more keyboard shortcuts than the old interface. You can also find out about all shortcuts in this Skype support article
A script for JAWS users is being developed to make the Skype experience better, but as I said before, I will no longer work on translation and support for the people in Turkey.
Conclusion and personal opinions
Whether we like it or not, the classic Skype will no longer be available to download and use. I think we have enough time to get familiar with the new Skype. Needless to say that Microsoft places great emphasis on feedback from users. Instead of complaining about missing features and trying to find ways to go back to the old versions; it would be much more accurate to request for new features and fixes by sending feedback directly within Skype.
Though I don’t use Skype as often as before; What I have seen so far is, the usage of the new Skype is not that hard. Just because everything is completely overhauled, you will be getting familiar with the interface in some time. And of course, Skype will work much better with updates.
I will update this post in the future if needed. Don’t hesitate to write your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.
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