Skype App Blunder Is An Opportunity for Developers
Posted On July 21, 2017 by Nathaniel Currier in Blog, Ecosystem, Media, Unified Commmunications, Verticals
If there is one major inconvenience to using Skype’s mobile application, it’s having to endure software updates from time to time — and then having to figure out what’s changed with each subsequent update. These changes range from minor visual tweaks bug fixes to roll-outs of an entirely new user experience with a different look and feel and new interaction model. In the latter case, users are left with having to relearn the tool they already knew and possibly with a fragment experience across devices. Compare Skype on desktop to the new Skype on Android for a great current example as of the time of this writing.
Up until now, most of Skype’s updates have been relatively minor for from the perspective of the user for quite some time. Many might feel that familiarity breeds contempt but the “old” Skype app was functional, consistent, and easy to use. It held a begrudgingly dedicated spot on my phone and got more than its fair share of use.
With its most recent software update, unveiled last month, the Skype team may have gone a bit too far. Critics and consumers have given it scathing reviews, and the consensus seems to be that this is the worst version of Skype yet, forgetting perhaps this isn’t the first time a major overhaul left people wondering why and de-contenting the app in favor of some new graphics and features nobody asked for. In movie speak, it’s a flop.
What went wrong?
For starters, this version of Skype looks and feels like a completely different mobile messaging application — it’s such a dramatic change that users find it very frustrating to adapt to the changes. It has been described as “a weird mix between literal texting and a Snapchat-style rip-off.” Users complain about everything from the application’s new interface and navigation system to its built-in “storytelling” feature that closely mirrors Snapchat.
Successfully bridging the gap between generations of messaging apps and the generations of users that love them has been on Microsoft’s mind here, and who can blame them for that?
Unfortunately, the feedback has been so overwhelmingly negative that Microsoft was recently forced to admit that the update was “a big change” in a blog post while assuring readers that they are hard at work creating more fixes and improvements.
Microsoft has already released a few new, let’s call them “adjustments,” since the last update, including the ability to delete contacts and conversations and engage in multitasking during calls. Why were these features removed only to be added back? More “adjustments” to bring functionality back are sure to come.
So, why call Skype out for its shortcomings?
In the words of author Tom Peters, if a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade. While the update is bad news for Microsoft, it’s great news for developers who are looking to disrupt the mobile messaging market.
Right now there are a lot of unhappy Skype users out there who may be open to switching to other, newer, cutting-edge platforms while Microsoft plays catch-up with its own product.
The blunder in design should be a reminder that while giants like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, QQ Mobile and WeChat dominate the mobile messaging space right now, none of these platforms are invincible. Let’s not forget the days when CUSeeMe was the untouchable king of video conferencing on the web; everyone can be dethroned. Consumers have no shortage of messaging app options at their disposal. They naturally gravitate towards messaging services they know and trust, and feel comfortable using — and they abandon applications that don’t make the grade.
While competition may be stiff in the mobile messaging industry, there is always room for a disruptor offering a powerful, innovative messaging platform that is ultra-responsive, easy to navigate, and highly reliable.
Temasys is a leading Embedded Real-Time Communications platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider offering mobile SDKs and APIs, all aimed at helping developers easily build, deploy and scale messaging applications. To learn more about the services that Temasys offers, click here.