This one was pending on my list from a long long time. Skype!
Skype flaunts one of the worst UI and UX. (According to me of course) EVER!. Without wasting our time, lets jump in right away.
Let’s start with the main items visible under your profile pic.
First visible thing under there, is the status. Either you are available or you are away or something like that. Then you have the search button, and I am not sure what does the search do here ! Then we have the home button which says, see update from your contacts in Skype. If I click that, I can see all the status updates I put under my profile and profile updates from few others. Strange eh?
Next to that, we have dial pad kind of thingy or let’s say a series of buttons, is that a calculator ? Oh I get it, That is the Call button from which you can make calls to the landline or mobile !!
Why can’t they use a damn phone receiver icon which is a standard to depict a phone call. Next to that is a plus symbol and I wonder what it would be? Adding a contact? If I look at the search box and since I can see the contacts down below, I assume it must be the option for adding a new contact ?! You are damn wrong. It is to start a conversation where others can join in. Let’s move forward and see that there is a video camera icon thingy and I believe this must be to initiate a video chat with the friend and yet again I am wrong. This is a button to add a ….what? Add a Bot to your contact list…? are you kidding me?
Let’s begin to dissect the anatomy of having a chat conversation with one of your friend. Click on any of your friends from the left pane and you get the chat window activated in the middle.
The right side obviously has a sh#tty advertisement which is totally irrelevant to me but I must see it anyways. The input window below has some plain blue icons which on mouse over will give you a tool-tip description of what they really do. In other words, they send an image, file, video, contact or a smiley.
Input some text and…
Fortunately, the input window gives a helper text which says type a message here. When you start typing something into it, the icons for contacts, video and image, immediately disappear, and attachment icon is displayed beside the smiley. I thought I can attach a file directly by clicking on it but instead it displays a tool tip as more and extends the previously quoted icons once again. Duh…!
Now coming to the Calling functionality of the Skype. Suppose you want to call someone, you got to click on that contact and you see the call button on the top right and you click it.
Connecting…. And you are connected. You start talking. (obviously) and through the conversation you receive a chat message from the person you are talking to. Alas…and you can’t find it.
Why? Well that’s how it is. Where’s it hidden? Over to the top right corner, see the message bubble? There you have it. Click on it and you can see the chat message that you just received. Oh… I forgot, those icons only come up when you mouse over the active window.
And well, how can you share your screen? What can a plus (+) symbol really mean? Add? Add what? Add people to this call? What else? Show dial pad? And..? Share screen? Share contact? Send files? See that’s a multipurpose Add button. Not every application can do that! That’s the super minimalist approach. One + button to do it all!
Wait, there is one more super minimal confusing icon that I just missed.
Any guesses? No chance… This is what it does.
OK. That’s it. I had enough. I can go on and on, but I am utterly shocked by the bizarre vagueness of this crazy experience I had. Stopping it here…