Weekly Poll: What Do You Think of the Skype 5 Beta?

Skype is one of those programs that is used by almost everyone in one way or another. Whether you have it open all day, or just fire it up to chat with family when you’re away on holiday, most Mac users will have encountered it at some point.

Last week, Skype announced the release of a new Beta for Mac users – Skype 5.0. This new version takes a radical departure from the old Skype interface, in an effort to adopt a “one window” approach and make using the app much simpler.

Although I really like the thinking behind this new version – tighter OS X integration, and a simpler interface – I was really disappointed with a few aspects of the design. Most notably the spacing between elements, which quickly becomes a complete nightmare if you have a long list of contacts.

At the very least, I’d have expected an option to scale down the font size, or switch to a more compact view. At present, it feels like the “one window” approach uses up twice as much desktop space, while only showing half the information I’m used to.

If you haven’t tried it yet, download the beta and let us know what you think! Do you agree with me, or are you impressed with the new, roomier interface?


  • http://www.untitlr.com Nemanja N.

    I hate new look!

  • Chris K

    New Skype is too big. It looks like a web browser :(

  • http://seamuis.tumblr.com Seamuis

    I use Skype a lot. A lot. and I immediately disliked the new interface. it feels clunky, bloated and not very well thought out. if you are going to do a one window interface you need to make sure that all the needed information is accessible and as easy to use as possible. you also need to make sure to implement as many ‘hide feature’ possibilities as possible as to allow the user to set up their ‘one window’ in the best way possible for their use. from my time with it, it seems that they have only achieved making the experience of using Skype flat out annoying. take the op bar for example. do I really need to know my own information or mood message in the chat window? is a search function really that necessary? what happened to the ability to collapse the bar and get rid of unneeded information and tools? with the old version, the dial pad was integrated into the chat window, but now with a ‘one window’ interface the dial pad is now a pop open secondary window? the problem I really have with this is that Skype has tried to simplify the application and in doing so, they have taken away the simple, unobtrusive chat window we are used to. where the video chat and the person you are talking to are the center of attention. not a lot of real thought went into the streamlining of the new interface and how all the new features should be implemented. it feels slapped together. but as a beta I will give it credit and hope that by the time they are go for the full release it will be much better. the one thing I do really love about the beta though is the ability to turn off your own video window. I always missed that from the windows version and im glad its finally on the mac. all in all, I wont be using it, as I will stick to what works and wait to see how Skype improves this new concept. what im really waiting on though is the next version of Skype mobile that can use the dual cameras of the iphone 4 and ipod touch 4g

  • TSiRKO

    I really like that I have all the there when I talk! Video and Chat! But the contact list is very big! i dont need that on my desktop! I want something iChat/Adium like for my contact list!

    Anyway I think this beta is really great step for skype_mac but needs more work! And I hope for now mac gets new versions in the same time with windows

  • http://log.tuananh.ws Tuan Anh Tran

    Only wish that Adium would support voice/video chat :x

  • Zidizei

    I really like the one-window concept but I agree that they were a little too generous with all that white space. with that: http://lifehac.kr/cUrOh0 the chat window at least is a bit less bloated..

  • http://developerpanda.com/ Deb

    The window sure is in odd size, but thats okay. I don’t usually obsess too much over softwares.

  • http://pixelcookie.com Chris

    I hate it. Here are my reasons why:
    1. it’s too big
    2. having contacts and chats in one window is inconvenient
    3. contacts and pretty much everything is too big
    4. coverflow for contacts? seriously?
    5. copy and paste doesn’t have time stamps. :(
    6. no drag and drop contact adding to chats.

  • http://kineme.net/ smokris

    I’m sad they removed the volume-bars for multiperson chats.. (Those bars were really helpful for telling what’s going on and diagnosing ambient noise problems.)

  • http://fairheadcreative.com Adam Fairhead

    It looks and feels like what I’d imagine Skype would make as an iPad app. The vast amount of space between every button and interactive element looks like it was made for fingers to poke at, rather than a precision device like a trackpad or mouse.

    I suppose Skype have no excuse to not release an iPad version of Skype imminently, now; they have the iOS version up and running, and a UI ready to drop right on top of it. They just put it on the Mac version instead of the iPad version, bless their cotton socks.

  • shima

    Way too big!

  • http://leoavesani.carbonmade.com Leonardo Avesani

    Back to the drawing board is all I can say.

  • http://freereyes.com Free Reyes

    I created a photoshop concept of a Skype 5 with less space. http://dribbble.com/shots/75912-Skype-5-for-Mac-Re-design

  • http://www.fullcreative.com Evan Bowers

    My coworkers and I all hate the new interface. We discovered that you could edit the css of the conversation pane, so we made a theme that is more usable. You can download it for free here. http://www.fullcreative.com/2010/11/holy-whitespace-we-tweaked-the-style-on-skypes-mac-beta/

  • Krol

    1. Text messaging icons still differ in various places of the interface.
    2. New status icons got bigger “ears” than the original Skype icon. They also got a bit messy edges. (BTW, Preferences interface icons looks like they were randomly chosen from different style collections)
    3. Contacts can’t be dragged to conversation neither from the sidebar nor from the Contacts Monitor. Some contacts that potentially could be dragged to the conversation might be neither in Recent List nor in Favorites.
    4. Contacts Monitor looks and feels like a Contact List or some sort of shortcut to contacts, so it is a bit confusing not to see there some contacts that could be important to the user when they are offline or invisible. I guess Contacts Monitor must also contain the best new interface feature — Favorites.
    5. Toolbar looks a bit empty even with the minimal width and can’t be customized or minimized, so it just consumes space for potentially extensive mood message.
    6. Avatar carousel looks at least strange and not as good as the one from iTunes or Finder. It’s also a bit sluggish when scrolling. If they like iTunes, maybe it’s a good idea to implement the Grid View also.
    7. One window interface for the communication application with three different types of interaction is a bit strange and could do only on one-monitor systems. Skype is not an iPad Twitter client. Personally I’ve got MacBook Pro with a cam and a 23″ Cinema HD Display without a cam. I used to text on the Cinema Display using external keyboard (main workspace) and do the video conferencing on the MacBook Pro screen, where the cam is. So, with only one window I should either speak to my contacts sideways or typing text messages over my shoulder. Or constantly dragging one window back and forth.
    8. Text input field can’t be resized manually, but its margins are well balanced, so it’s not a big deal.

    I think, interface design is not about adapting new design trends and ideas to the things that weren’t meant to be there from the beginning (Skype is not an iPad Twitter client). IMHO, interface design is about simple non-irritating usability. Why don’t they do something as simple as iChat? It beats Skype on usability and functionality (except phone calling and sms).

  • Jimmey

    I just hate it. It is useless, space consuming, bloated.

  • skzskz

    it sucks! there is no way I will install this version.

  • Tessa Thornton

    There’s a feedback form on the site: everybody flood it with comments!

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow