Our Design team (Chris Bierbower, Kristjana Guðjónsdóttir and WanTing Liao) has created a vision of what Skype 6.0 for Mac might look like. Given that Skype was just acquired by Microsoft, and many Mac users are not completely satisfied with the 5.0 user interface, this seems like a great time to think about how Skype could evolve over the coming year.
The design goal was to create a Skype that was so polite, users would be happy to leave it open, and visible on the screen at all times. The current 5.0 version of Skype is so large we find that users often cover the window with other applications or quit the program all together.
Our 6.0 interface is based on a single window with tabs that can be pulled away to organize conversations visually (inspired by trends in web browsers). This makes the application both easy to grasp for new users and powerful for heavy users.
The completely redesigned Mac desktop version of Skype’s client is purposefully minimalistic and focused on multitasking. We believe that Skype is most appreciated when it feels like an extension of the operating system, taking up only the space it needs. During the design process we would spend whole days savagely reducing the wasted pixels in each aspect of the application. With a service as comprehensive as Skype we often needed to stop and make sure the latest designs covered the dozens of use case scenarios. One of the most noticeable changes is the new focus on contacts’ profile images. After much debate and testing we found that users quickly memorize their contacts profile image even if contacts use avatars or occasionally change the image.