Skype’s new look mobile onboarding

Given there are so many options these days for chat + voice, you may have already abandoned Skype. Facebook, WeChat, Slack, Hangouts are just some of the contenders and many of us have all these plus WhatsApp running concurrent threads.

But its clear the Skype team want to change that and get back into the game, a massive installed base is shifting to the other platforms and mobile. Skype was truly awful (slow, cumbersome) on mobile and is probably in the minds of most consumers “a desktop product”. Here is some onboarding from their new Mobile App (on Android).

skype user interface
skype app ux

The most common landing page in Skype is your contact list and they’ve provided a basic 2-step tip tour to teach you about the new user interface.

  1. Its a nice design to have the personal profile at the top-center but its not a common design pattern, so its smart to tell users.
  2. Moving the “call” button is a great “instant gratification” change. But Skype has to retrain old users from going to the contact first and then calling from there. This inversion is smart but teaching us in this tip is smart too.

In Chat/Call

Whilst commencing the call, they provide a few clues for how you can handle chat oriented activities.

To me, this is a bit of a miss. There are at least three other relevant CTA’s on the screen, so adding a tip is only increasing the cognitive load for the user.

Using something like Contextual you can trigger based on certain conditions.

skype user interface

Here is a great example of smart user education. We call this Progressive Onboarding.

Skype has decided that after at least one call, they will help me understand how to get more value out of the product in a chat session. 

They may have also only triggered for users who hanve not completed the “sharing photos”, “locations”, “GIFs” tasks already.


Missed Opportunities?

I like Skype’s new design, its reduced some of it’s bloat and the UI is more “instant” as users expect for a modern chat/voice app.

But, there is some missed opportunities for uncovering other features in the application.

For example, these gems are hidden behind the “+” button but we’ve not been told about them.

Group chat: is dead easy in Facebook Messenger and WeChat, but its buried in Skype.

New Highlight: I had no idea what a Highlight is, I still don’t know 🙂 A tip could have educated me.

Find Bots: This feature has been a powerhouse growth factor for Slack, so Skype want to catch up – but its unlikely we can find it here. Also it sounds a little scary.


Contextual could have helped Skype walk the user through a simple explanation of each of these Advanced Features, its more opportunity for Progressive onboarding – perhaps they will target me in the future. If you want to read a good example of how Twitter progressively onboards users, check this blog post.

Also Contextual can put small “?” tooltips next to a new or confusing feature. You can find an example video on this page.

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    Contextual & StreetHawk Inc 2023.