Microsoft's Skype gets a redesign, ditching Snapchat-like feature 'Highlights'

  • Skype said it was shaping up the app to make it easier for users to navigate and find contacts.
  • It removed "Highlights," a feature similar to Snapchat's, where users can document their day with photos and videos.
  • The platform has struggled to retain dominance with the rapid rise of competitors like FaceTime and WhatsApp.
A person holds a mobile phone displaying the Skype application logo.
Aytac Unal | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A person holds a mobile phone displaying the Skype application logo.

Skype has dropped a feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram's "Story" highlight reels, in a back-to-basics redesign prioritizing "simplicity."

The Microsoft-owned messaging and video-calling service said it was shaping up the Skype mobile and desktop apps to make it easier for users to navigate and find contacts — and that includes ditching its "Highlights" feature.

"This past year we explored some design changes and heard from customers that we overcomplicated some of our core scenarios," Peter Skillman, director of design for Skype and Outlook, said in a blog post. "Calling became harder to execute and 'Highlights' didn't resonate with a majority of users."

The mobile version of the app will include three buttons at the bottom, to open up chats, calls and contacts.

Skype's redesigned mobile app includes three buttons — for "chats," "calls" and "contacts" — at the bottom.
Skype
Skype's redesigned mobile app includes three buttons — for "chats," "calls" and "contacts" — at the bottom.

The desktop version moves those buttons, in addition to notifications, to the top left corner.

Skype's redesigned desktop app moves the "chats," "calls," "contacts" and "notifications" buttons to the top left corner.
Skype 
Skype's redesigned desktop app moves the "chats," "calls," "contacts" and "notifications" buttons to the top left corner.

A Skype redesign in June last year — when the "Highlights" feature was introduced — was mostly unpopular with users. Skype said that most people use the platform purely for calls, video chat and instant messaging.

"Highlights" was very similar to "Story" features offered by competitors Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, where users can document their day with photos and videos that stay up for 24 hours before being taken down automatically.

Skype said users will still be able to download their "Highlights" posts until September 30. The firm said its latest revamp was "only the beginning" and that more updates over the next few months were expected.

The platform has struggled to retain dominance in the market with the rapid rise of competitors like Apple's FaceTime, Facebook's WhatsApp and Messenger, and Tencent's WeChat. WhatsApp is currently the dominant messaging app, according to Statista data, raking in 1.5 billion monthly active users, while Skype only has 300 million monthly active users.