Microsoft testing a new UI for Skype desktop with a few users

In April, Neowin first reported that some users of the desktop version of Skype were seeing a new user interface for text conversations. Now Microsoft has announced it has recently begun testing a new UI for both the Windows and Mac Skype desktop clients.

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In a post on the Skype blog this week, Microsoft stated that the team had been busy for the past 18 months developing new interfaces for the Windows 8, iOS and Android versions. Now that this particular work is over, the time is right to turn their attention to a refresh of the desktop clients.

The blog post stated:

With this in mind, we recently started testing a refreshed UI on a small portion of Windows desktop users. And soon, some Skype for Mac users will see the new experience, too. The new UI aims to bring a clean and modern look to Skype, providing you with a delightful and coherent experience across all clients. We’ll be analyzing test results, gathering feedback, and fine-tuning the experience before releasing to our entire user base.

The blog post did not offer any screenshots of what the new Windows and Mac desktop versions would look like, nor did it give an estimate on when it will be released to all users. In our article from April, the new UI was only seen in the chat conversations. It's possible that this new round of testing will extend the refreshed interface to the entire application.

Source: Microsoft

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37 Comments

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If the new UI makes use of the whole screen to display text in a maximized (compact view) chat window, I'm all for it. It's ridiculous that this is the behaviour on the Mac version but not Windows

I downloaded the new-UI version of 6.16 - looks pretty nice, actually.
Yes - it's different from standard-UI 6.16 - however, it certainly isn't in a bad sort of way.
It's also just as cross-compatible as standard-UI 6.16; therefore, it didn't really break anything.
FYI, Skype 6.x is largely cross-compatible with several chat services - including those of Facebook; new-UI 6.16 doesn't break that.

Ew there is a new advertisement on the top of the chat window. Makes it so there's barely any room on a laptop!

Id settle just for some features from messenger to be added back. Such as appearing offline to certain users or groups. Half my contacts cant even see when I am online due to settings previously done in WLM. Such a mess.

Agreed. I'd personally love to see something akin to that of messaging on Windows Phone.

I mean, it seems like with Windows Phone, they considered your eyes having to view this stuff in the dark.

On the computer though? Nope! Let's have all these windows just tear your retinas apart with a fantastically bright white background...

Skype for Desktop needs to add "tab windows", so that you can have multiple chats open, without having to go down the list of your contacts to see who's writing, and who's not.

When they merged MSN and Skype, I didn't see a huge issue about it. But when the WLM client was miles ahead of Skype in terms of usability, and the Skype client is STILL behind WLM, I find fewer reasons to use Skype. People I chat with most frequently exist on either Facebook or Steam as well.

darkthunder said,
Skype for Desktop needs to add "tab windows", so that you can have multiple chats open, without having to go down the list of your contacts to see who's writing, and who's not.

When they merged MSN and Skype, I didn't see a huge issue about it. But when the WLM client was miles ahead of Skype in terms of usability, and the Skype client is STILL behind WLM, I find fewer reasons to use Skype. People I chat with most frequently exist on either Facebook or Steam as well.

That's why i switched to miranda-ng :)

Blegh! Disgusting. I use the "combined" mode of Skype for Desktop. The compact version (which produces the result you showed) is hideous. Which is why I want tabs.

To be fair, you can use the non-compact view and select RECENT tab to achieve the same tabbing you want.

I have been using Skype using compact view for a long time until recently when it wasn't feasible anymore due to increased about of communication. Now I use non-compact and recent tab. Works like a charm.

That being said, I'd like the Skype app to get a overhaul like this:
http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/7182/skype1i.jpg

Big deal, do you really believe that such large companies like MS are really interested in real needs of their customers? That case they'd ASK us at least once in a blue moon, or give choice via votes etc. etc. MS doesnt give a flying f**** how you like what they cook: you either eat it, or go away.

soder said,
Big deal, do you really believe that such large companies like MS are really interested in real needs of their customers? That case they'd ASK us at least once in a blue moon, or give choice via votes etc. etc. MS doesnt give a flying f**** how you like what they cook: you either eat it, or go away.
Ty, that needed to be said.

soder said,
Big deal, do you really believe that such large companies like MS are really interested in real needs of their customers? That case they'd ASK us at least once in a blue moon, or give choice via votes etc. etc. MS doesnt give a flying f**** how you like what they cook: you either eat it, or go away.

Ok? That's exactly what I said I'll do. No presence and I'll stop using it and find something else to use.

Skype is the last Microsoft product that I use that isn't DPI aware yet. I'm not sure what's taking them so long. They should have fired the entire Skype team and reworked the whole thing themselves. They seem incompetent taking this long.

mrp04 said,

Ok? That's exactly what I said I'll do. No presence and I'll stop using it and find something else to use.

Skype is the last Microsoft product that I use that isn't DPI aware yet. I'm not sure what's taking them so long. They should have fired the entire Skype team and reworked the whole thing themselves. They seem incompetent taking this long.


They should've let the Messenger team take over entire Skype.
The features it had and Skype STILL lacks are embarrassing.

Shadowzz said,

They should've let the Messenger team take over entire Skype.
The features it had and Skype STILL lacks are embarrassing.

I agree, the Skype team really seem to be clueless.

parengputik said,
No love for linux users :(

I really like the old version of skype I've got on my server, with pidgin and webpidginz, it's much better :).
Shame they're going to remove external application support.

If they will make a proper UI for Desktop Skype, I might consider using it again.

Its completely backwards that the Modern Skype app is miles ahead.

Inline image viewing, that's what I really want. Thank god they are updating the interface. It looks like its from the stoneage when you compare it to hangouts.

Shadowzz said,
If they will make a proper UI for Desktop Skype, I might consider using it again.

Its completely backwards that the Modern Skype app is miles ahead.

How is it backwards? The modern UI app is what needs to be used.

Shadowzz said,
If they will make a proper UI for Desktop Skype, I might consider using it again.

Its completely backwards that the Modern Skype app is miles ahead.

Not sure what you're smoking but the Skype for Desktop is miles ahead of it's "modern" counterpart. As all Modern apps, that version of Skype too is severely lacking features and polish...

ians18 said,

How is it backwards? The modern UI app is what needs to be used.

True considering that they're going to move to universal Windows applications I'd assume at some point they'll want to move to a single Skype application that can either run in 'Modern UI' or as a windowed mode like a traditional application.

Obry said,

Not sure what you're smoking but the Skype for Desktop is miles ahead of it's "modern" counterpart. As all Modern apps, that version of Skype too is severely lacking features and polish...

Not all modern apps, sheesh. Fresh Paint has polish, so does the new mail app and the bing apps. All games are pretty good too.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

True considering that they're going to move to universal Windows applications I'd assume at some point they'll want to move to a single Skype application that can either run in 'Modern UI' or as a windowed mode like a traditional application.

I think universal means WP, Windows (Modern UI), and then Xbox not desktop, those will go away soon.

I still dislike Skype Modern over good ol MSN Messenger.
But its imo better to use, still wastes a ton of screen real estate but makes more sense to me, a cleaner look and all.
Which they could've done years ago on the Desktop. But it has remained almost unchanged since what, version 4? 2006ish?

ians18 said,

How is it backwards? The modern UI app is what needs to be used.

Shadowzz said,
Its completely backwards that the Modern Skype app is miles ahead.

Seriously?

As much as the desktop version sucks, I've managed to figure it out over time. I still couldn't navigate the metro version to save my life.

The Mordern Skype app is terrible.

You can drag images (such as the hang up button) as if you're on a website which is weird.
There's no "busy", it's just Online or Invisible.
It doesn't support my webcam when the desktop version does.
Listing people on your friends list is in a grid view, which makes it hard to look through when you have over 150 contacts. The grid view wouldn't be too bad if it grouped them up alphabetically, but instead it just lists them alphabetically, so the next letter a, b, c etc.. are mixed in with the contacts.

Tell me how exactly is the Modern UI Skype miles ahead, when it feels like it was made by someone who's doing their first program for a college coursework?

_dandy_ said,

Seriously?

As much as the desktop version sucks, I've managed to figure it out over time. I still couldn't navigate the metro version to save my life.


Do you know to use a computer? Simply click on a name then click the call button to switch calls, right click in any blank area of the app.

ians18 said,
Do you know to use a computer? Simply click on a name then click the call button to switch calls, right click in any blank area of the app.

I like to think so. I've been using computers since the age of 11, and I'm now 41, earning a living writing software since I've been out of college.

ians18 said,
I think universal means WP, Windows (Modern UI), and then Xbox not desktop, those will go away soon.

I assume you did watch the BUILD 2014 conference given that windowed modern applications are coming to Windows either in the next update with the return of the start menu or the next main release.