Skype Gives Up On Trying To Be Snapchat, Rolls Back To Classic Design And Features

Almost two years ago, Skype felt the need to try to compete with Snapchat, prompting them to send their engineers to work to come up with a redesign that would squarely pit the two against each other on a flashy, modern-looking footing. That redesign appeared just over a year ago, and the immediate reaction to it wasn’t good. Being blunt, the early reviews showed that most people hated the changes. Undaunted, Skype believed that in time, people would grow to appreciate and enjoy the new Skype, but it has finally become apparent that day is never coming.

Tech Crunch has reported that Skype is finally ready to throw in the towel and go back to the formula that helped make them so successful in the first place. The crazy color schemes are going away. There will be no more annoying squiggly lines invading the screen. Stories will be a thing of the past and the early reaction to the news on social media bounces between “What took so long?” and “Thank God!” While Skype’s redesign looked fresh and modern, many people who used it felt that it ran like a dinosaur, often bogging down while loading features and skins no one was overly concerned with or using.

One of the least popular features, according to Tech Crunch, was highlights, which was a copy of Stories, used by Snapchat and Instagram. The idea was that users would take a photo or a short video and adorn them with stickers and text that they would then distribute to anywhere from one person to their entire network. The new feature was something Skype felt it needed to have, as people use it widely on social networks. Their feeling was if they didn’t have it, people would leave because they expected it. Instead, they discovered people liked Skype just fine the way it was and didn’t want a newsfeed type of feel for the network.

In the announcement Microsoft posted on their blog network regarding the rollback, it was admitted that people weren’t using the new features very much and that it was having a negative impact on call quality, according to Peter Skillman, Director of Design for Skype and Outlook.

“Calling became harder to execute and Highlights didn’t resonate with a majority of users. We needed to take a step back and simplify!”

Skype has stated they will still test new prototypes, and they are not giving up on a redesign that may one day incorporate many of the features they are currently shelving. With that glimpse of the future, they have also hinted that some form of Skype classic, the 7.0 version, will likely remain in place for a very long time. While they have stated they will make some changes with the rollback to the 7.0 formula, it is mostly based on changes to the blue color scheme to improve readability and the location of a couple buttons.