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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Skype is Getting Another Redesign with new Themes and Features

Skype announced various features in order to update its app. The app would now have several new features added to its interface so that the user could have a more cohesive experience. With the world turned inwards due to the global pandemic, apps like Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet gained utmost prominence. Skype undertook this opportunity to introduce new features to its app which would make the app work faster and better. These updates can be seen in the foreseeable future.

What are the Features to be Introduced into the Skype new Interface?

Microsoft decided to make a plethora of changes in the video calling platform with Skype’s newest update. This would typically include changes in the Call stage, as well as newer layouts and themes. Microsoft announced the new changes to be introduced on the Skype app through a blog released on the 27th of September 2021. The blog post categorically mentioned a few of the updates to be introduced through Skype redesign. The blog post mentions that the new Skype app plans on bringing an “improved, faster, reliable and super modern-looking Skype.” Microsoft claimed to be listening to user feedback and all of the upgrades have been planned accordingly.


Changes Made in the ‘Call Stage’

Skype calls this phase where everyone is connected on the video call as the ‘call stage’. This particular stage is getting several upgrades. The most important of this being the fact that the grid displaying people on the video call will now have the option of displaying every person in the tile doesn’t matter how many they are. Therefore every attendee of the video call will have a place in the grid for themselves. The person initiating the video call would have the reigns of allowing or dismissing any attendee to stay on the grid. Every person will also be able to see their own video screen in the grid. If the person making the video call allows everyone, all of them can co-exist. Another added feature to the call stage is that if a person decides to keep their video camera off, instead of showing the boring grey screen, they can now choose from multiple fun background options. Skype highlights included video animation and animated backgrounds in the previous updates. This time, even if an attendee has switched to audio-only mode, he/she can change their background to a better option.

Updates in Themes and Layouts:

The new Skype update comes with an array of new color themes and layouts. It allows view customization. The options that the users could choose from are Together Mode, grid view, speaker view, content view, and even large gallery view. The older update of Skype already included call recording privileges and live subtitles, besides the together mode and animated backgrounds for video call attendees. Skype has promised to introduce brand new color themes to redesign its interface which has gradient buttons and an upgraded panel on the side of the mobile. Its new update would also get new design icons through all of its applications. These upgrades are meant to complement the ‘name your call’ feature which Skype had introduced in its previous upgrades. This particular update allows users to customize their video calls and personalize them according to their own needs. Video Call attendees can now choose from their own set of emoticons, avatars, backgrounds, color gradients, meeting titles as well as customized titles. Skype users who do not have avatars of their own would also be able to access the color gradients so that they can tell one chat apart from another. 

Updates in the Meet Now Feature:

Skype also claims to redesign the Meet Now feature. The Meet Now feature earlier required the skype user to sign in to their account using a browser or an app. The new update now allows users to access video calls without having to download the Skype app or sign up as registered users on the interface. Skype also claimed to put in efforts to redesign the ‘meet now’ lobby for people wanting to meet up online.

Updates in the Invitation Links:

Skype also plans on changing the type of invitation links it sends out. The receivers will now be able to see the avatar and username of the person sending the invites. Skype also claimed that it is soon going to be supported by every kind of browser out there.

Updates in using Office Lens on Skype:

Office Lens, which is the scanner for Microsoft has aligned itself with Skype’s new updates. The new Skype update now allows one to share the documents and pdfs scanned on Office Lens and share them directly on video calls. Office Lens will additionally allow one to create videos, capture memory and create whiteboards, business cards, or scan documents at ease. 

The Twin Cam Feature on Skype: 

Another new update added to the Skype app is the TwinCam feature which allows a user to add a video from any of the secondary devices used by them.He/she is just required to scan a QR code through the secondary device that they are using and that would automatically turn into the second camera for Skype. This secondary device could be either Android or iOS as Skype supports both. Microsoft has also added the option to choose reactions and change notification sounds to the newest update. Skype Universal translator is also one of the newest additions that come with the new Skype upgrade.

Conclusion:

Microsoft was very clear about one thing from the beginning that the barrage of changes being brought in by the newest update of Skype is not just focused on changes in design. The Skype blog which was released on the 27th of September categorically mentioned: “While we love the design changes, we knew they weren’t enough. We need to focus on performance to make the experience more delightful.” Microsoft has thus focused to increase its performance in key areas which includes about thirty percent in the desktop Skype versions and a whopping two thousand percent in the Android app versions of Skype. Microsoft also plans on making Skype accessible to all browser versions. The goal is to provide a seamless consumer experience on the app, no matter which browser it is operated from. The question lies if Skype would be able to compete with the Zoom movement which happened as soon as the pandemic set in. With all of its newest features, it is assured to give tough competition to Zoom and other video calling apps in the market.


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Josie Patra
Josie Patra is a veteran writer with 21 years of experience. She comes with multiple degrees in literature, computer applications, multimedia design, and management. She delves into a plethora of niches and offers expert guidance on finances, stock market, budgeting, marketing strategies, and such other domains. Josie has also authored books on management, productivity, and digital marketing strategies.

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