Skype, the now not so popular messaging and video call app, just went on a diet and lost a lot of weight for its new identity and renovated version.
Remember when we didn’t have Snapchat, Instagram stories, or even an iPhone to make video calls? Well that was the time when Skype was popular because it provided high-resolution video calls, compared to the belated messenger (Not Facebook messenger millennials, the original one), and I am aware a lot of people and businesses still use it, but let me ask young millennials and Post-Millennials if they use it and I am pretty sure it will be a no.
That is why Microsoft is introducing the new generation of Skype with a bunch of new features including emoticon reactions, customized profiles, short video stories called Highlights, and add-ins and bots like Expedia and BigOven; “to make experiencing life together, every day, simpler”
If you have the feeling that the new wordmark looks familiar, let me tell you that you have a great eye. The new wordmark follows the brand guidelines from Microsoft and Microsoft Office products by using the custom type family Segoe Pro – Skype was bought by Microsoft in 2011-. For me, it makes complete sense for the company to integrate this brand to their whole style, it kinda reminds me to when Google changed its identity to match it to its visual assets.
“We think it’s the best Skype we’ve ever built—inside and out—and it’s been designed to make it easier for you to use for your everyday communications.”
I am glad that they kept the iconic S inside the blue bubble even though it doesn’t match the new wordmark, it was smart to keep it since it is what every user recognizes and sees on their phones. Here the wordmark becomes a secondary element, more like an ownership reminder from Microsoft, like if they were saying “Hey! Remember it is ours! It looks like us!”
“Skype, you’ll have countless ways to share life’s moments together, every day. Wherever life takes you, Skype allows you to seamlessly create, play, share, and do more with the people you care about most.”
The logo is not the only change that the brand had, with the introduction of the new features, Skype also unveiled a fresh new look that leaves behind the blue and white monotone scheme that it had and welcomes a bright white background paired with a rainbow color palette in form of color overlay, backgrounds, transition animations, and chat boxes that users can customize by picking the hue that better fits them all. Along with the new color palette, the app also has a new layout with more space between elements, better hierarchy, and custom made icons (Of course I noticed them, I am an icon-freak).
Along with the new color palette, if you can notice, the app also has a new layout with more space between elements, better hierarchy, and custom made icons (which of course I noticed because I love icons). Definitively the new overall design is great! So much cleaner, friendlier and easier to navigate, now it does look like an app and a social media platform, not only a regular phone directory.
Now let’s talk about the new member of the identity, that curved line! I am in love with it, these are the small details that make a design to stand out. The took one simple curved line and transformed it into a brand attribute as a notification and “loading” language with an animated curved line instead of using the generic “dot dot dot” or the loading circle. I am guessing it comes from the audio waves, which makes sense, but there is not an official statement about it.
And talking about the loading lines that appear when video calling, now the users can share photos, messages, emoticons and stickers in real-time; something I haven’t seen in any of the other popular platforms and that makes the calls more interactive, but I really don’t understand why would you share an emoticon of a laugh if you are video calling someone and can see really see you laugh.
The video calls are not the only thing getting cute animations, the chat is now equipped with stickers and “mojis”, as Skype likes to call them, that you can use of course to send it as a regular emoji, but also as a reaction to specific text messages, which is kind of useful and fun to do (cof cof Facebook cof).
Besides the emojis and stickers, now users can also experience add-ins to find and share content, play games, and use tools together in any conversation without needing to switch to a different app; and bots (artificially intelligent programs) such as Expedia and StubHub with whom you can chat with them to get ticket prices and flight times.
“The new Skype is your canvas, and now you’re free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.”
And finally, because every social media has to have its Snapchat inspire feature, Skype is introducing Highlights. This new feature lets users create a reel of their days with photos and videos and share it in their Highlights “story” or as a direct message for friends to react with emoticons or start a conversation. Basically a Snpachat inside Skype.
Conclusions? Design wise it’s great! It is so fresh, easy to navigate, simple, great hierarchy and balance, it has everything a great design needs! I am surprised how they completely rebuilt the app from the ground and created a social platform. Strategy wise, I feel it has everything we can ask for, it is literally the sum of all the best features of Facebook, Instagram, iMessage, Snpachat, and Skype. Do I think it will become a thing? I am not sure, it has all the cool things, but it is missing the most important feature: users.
But well.. at least this is my f opinion