Sep 11 2010

Evolving Skype interface

Published by at 1:49 pm under Technology

I’ve written beforeSkype call buttons - as of September 2010 about finding the Skype mute button because it’s hard to explain to people during a call (especially when they are the possible source of noise).  Now Skype has reorganized and improved its interface.

I’m using the Beta version of Skype 5, which has a few surprises.  For example, when you call someone you get their picture and only see a band of buttons below it when you hover your mouse over it.  It can be a little alarming if you call someone by mistake and need to hang up quickly and can’t see where the red “hang-up” button is.

The mute button is right next to it and it’s a representation of a microphone with a large slash through it that is easier to recognize than a microphone with a little ‘x’ inside.  It’s helpful that buttons and controls that were distributed around the call window are now gathered together in this one band.

The “add people” button, for example, makes a lot more sense now that it’s with the other call controls.   When you click it, a search and select dialog box opens up that’s easy to use.

It took me a bit to recognize the comic-book speech bubble way over on the right as the symbol for the Skype chat window toggle.   When you toggle the chat back and forth, the band of controls is stable, in a recognizable location.

The bars symbol borrowed from the mobile phone world opens up a menu to check all of your hardware and related settings.

Opens during a Skype call

All of this is nice for Windows users, but Mac users seem to have to put up with an interface that’s a bit behind.  But Skype continues to evolve and is one of the most important tools for communities and collaboration today.

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