Sean Ellis

My feedback

  1. 109 votes
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    18 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » General  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The original "Bring back split view" thread was marked as "complete" even though it is only available in the Windows 10 app, not the desktop version.

    I have added a new ticket "Bring back split view in all versions", to highlight that there is still work to do and ensure that this issue is still visible.

    If you wish to vote for it and comment, you can find it here: https://skype.uservoice.com/forums/914527-welcome-to-skype-ideas/suggestions/36182710-bring-back-split-view-for-all-versions

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    It should be at least as compact as Skype 7, and preferably as compact as Skype 6.21.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  2. 58 votes
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    3 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Messaging  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    There should be a decent set of options for what gets displayed in the chat window, and in what order. It should be available for both compact and non-compact modes.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  3. 109 votes
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    16 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » General  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    Thank you for the feedback. We are continuously working to improve the quality and functionality of Skype to best meet your needs. Please continue to contribute your ideas — they push us to innovate, problem solve, and understand your needs.
    Thank you for helping us improve Skype.
    - Petr

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This should be trivial to implement, and is a required part of implementing the compact view (which needs to be at least as compact as 7, and preferably as compact as 6.21 was).

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    The contact list should expand to multiple columns if there is enough space in the window. This is analogous to what happens in Windows File Explorer with lists of files.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  4. 104 votes
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    4 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Messaging  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Still not available on 8.37.0.98.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  5. 165 votes
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    27 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Settings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Still not available on 8.37.0.98.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    There is a single API call in both Windows API and Javascript to format the date according to the system settings. Use that.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Converting a date to the currently selected OS locale is a single function call in both the Windows and Javascript APIs.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    In both the Win32 API and JavaScript there are single functions which will take a date and convert it to the format set in the system preferences. This should be the default way of dealing with dates.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "Take the date format from the Windows settings"

    The Windows API has a single function that does precisely this.
    And so does Javascript.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  6. 160 votes
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    14 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Messaging  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    Thank you for the feedback. We’re still working on enabling this capability. In the meantime you can right click on a message, click the “Select message” option and pick different messages to copy or forward.
    Thank you for your patience.
    - Petr

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    It is possible to select more than one message in 8.37.0.98. The username and time between messages is copied as inline text, but not the username and time of the first.

    Example, copying two messages from Bob, the first at 06:56, the second at 07:04:

    --
    Yes, I was afraid I hadn't done it properly.Bob, 07:04Thanks. I added Bill too.
    --

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "ON THE BACKLOG" ... "We’re still working on enabling this capability."

    Either you're working on it, or it's on the backlog. Which is it?

    And once again, why wasn't this tested and guaranteed working before starting to retire Skype 7? (Or better, before releasing Skype 8 in the first place.)

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  7. 198 votes
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    74 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Ability to turn off emoticons still not present in 8.37.0.98

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Absolutely. Happens to me all the time too. The fact that this was an option in 7, 6 and before makes this even more annoying.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Primarily it's yet another waste of space. An option to reclaim that area would be ideal.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    And don't forget the option to turn off emojis, too.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This, as with so many useful options for serious users, was present in Skype 7 and removed in Skype 8.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Please also add the ability to hide emoticons on incoming messages, or at the very least stop animations.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    And please ensure that there is an option to turn them off, for serious skype users.

  8. 991 votes
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    197 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Notifications  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    Some of the most consistent feedback we’ve received from you has to do with sounds and how you are notified about the goings on in Skype 8. We understand that all of these things are important for you and we are working on it.

    Thank you for your patience
    - Petr

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Still not available on 8.37.0.98

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    You should not need a survey. You have already done the design and come up with something that worked well for Skype users for years. Just copy the options exactly from Skype 7.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Guess what? Skype 7 had a good set of options for notifications. Copy that.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    People use Skype in a very wide range of environments. This goes beyond comfort and personalization, and into accessibility.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    People use Skype in a very wide range of environments. This goes beyond comfort and personalization, and into accessibility.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    People use Skype in wildly varying environments. Customization of sound (and colors, fonts, etc.) is essential to address the needs of a diverse user base.

    "No options" is not an option.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This should be an option.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    There should be fine-grained independent control on all notifications, both visual and audio.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I support this idea but it must be an option.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I'd like to support this idea, but add one very important word: "optional".

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Option!

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Definitely required.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Each type of notification should have separate sound and visual settings.
    Each contact should also be allowed to override those settings.
    Each conversation should be allowed to override those settings.

    Example:

    Globally, enable chat notifications visually, turn off "online/offline" status notifications completely, turn off all sounds.
    Unless it's Andrea, in which case do tell me when she's online because I have a parcel for her and need to arrange pickup.
    Unless it's the "Important Announcements" conversation group, in which case enable sounds too.
    Unless it's Graham, in which case turn everything off because he only ever spams the conversation with unfunny GIFs.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    As an example:

    Global: turn off sound notifications, turn off toast notifications, turn on persistent visual notification in task bar.

    Except: in chat "Company News" turn on sound notifications (inherit other settings)

    Except: For user "Sean" turn off all notifications as he only posts rants about the need for a decent hierarchical settings system.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Notifications should be configurable globally, per chat group, and per person.

  9. 13 votes
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    3 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Settings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Option "Auto-download photos" is present in 8.37.0.98, but it defaults to "on".

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    This absolutely must be an option.

    In the UK, possession of some kinds of indecent image is a "strict liability" offense, in that there is no defense based on how they came to be in your possession. Automatic download must therefore be optional, and off by default.

  10. 100 votes
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    31 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Settings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Still not complete. Font selection, and a free choice of font size, are not present in 8.37.0.98.

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Additionally, the title of the original thread has been edited after the fact to read "Ability to vary font size".

    This is unacceptable. You can't change what people asked for, and then tell them you have delivered it.

    Sean Ellis shared this idea  · 
  11. 1,485 votes
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    458 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » General  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    We realize moving away from older versions of Skype is an inconvenience and we’re sorry for that. We wouldn’t be moving everyone forward if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Watch this site for news about features we’re adding to the current version of Skype and reach out to @SkypeSupport on Twitter if you need help getting settled in the new app.

    Thanks all for all the comments and votes around this topic.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Which article is this?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "We realize moving away from older versions of Skype is an inconvenience"

    Why? It should not be. How many companies apologise for upgrades? An upgrade should be more functional and provide a better experience.

    I don't care what the underlying technology is. If it's C++ or UWP or Javascript or a box full of frogs, the users don't care. It must still be possible to deliver a decent UI experience with the same functionality as the previous product.

    If your new platform actually cannot deliver the same functionality as before, then the platform does not meet the basic requirements of the product and it should be replaced.

    "If you need help getting settled in the new app"

    This reminds me of the episode of the Simpsons where the school children are given new posture-correcting chairs. When they complain, they are told that their spines will soon change shape.

    The technology should conform to the users, not the other way around.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    If it were absolutely necessary, Skype 7 would have been killed by now. If you can keep it going this long, you can keep it going a bit longer, until the missing functionality is restored to Skype 8.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Much of what is keeping people like me using Skype is the network effect. I can't move away from Skype until my colleagues do, and vice versa.

    This acts a protective mechanism, up to a point. But this same feedback effect can flip very quickly once another solution reaches a critical threshold - just ask MySpace.

    What the Skype 7 shutdown is doing is forcing people to evaluate other solutions, pushing them closer to that tipping point.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Peter Skillman demonstrated multiple windows on Twitter back in August. I asked him about it again yesterday, and he replied that it has been released to "insiders" for testing.

    https://twitter.com/sean_t_ellis/status/1054303756463022080

    So that's one thing sorted out, hopefully.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "People have to want to change before there's any chance of helping them do so." - Jakob Nielsen

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
  12. 18 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » General  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  13. 2,050 votes
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    425 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » General  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    We hear you. We love Skype version 7 too. We’re working to build the Skype experience you’ve come to depend on for so long on today’s platforms for today’s user. It would be impossible to bring back the full catalog of features available in previous versions of Skype all at once, our engineering systems just don’t work that way. We are committed to evolving the current Skype experience to match your needs over time. As we release new Skype features, we’ll update this site. You can also follow @Skype and @SkypeInsider on Twitter for the latest news too.
    Thank you all for your feedback.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Anonymous - "well perhaps you do 'hear us' but you have not taken into account the issues we have raised in the MS Community Forum over the past six months or so. "

    This was also the case in the previous two incarnations of the Skype feedback forums. These were shut down and thousands of messages of feedback dumped and not migrated to the new system.

    We have been complaining about use of screen real estate for at least 3 years. (Ever since 6.21 in my case, other people much longer.) And they have listened to us by making every single release even bigger and less information dense than before.

    If the Skype team "hear us", it seems to be just to judge what they can do to make us less comfortable on the platform.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "We hear you" - I don't think you do, otherwise thread https://skype.uservoice.com/forums/914527-welcome-to-skype-ideas/suggestions/36231856-properly-restore-ability-to-vary-the-font-and-font would not be necessary.

    When restoring a feature, please check that it has actually been restored to the functionality required before marking threads as closed.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "As we release new Skype features, we’ll update this site."

    These features need to be rolled out a lot faster than they are. Peter Skillman demonstrated multi-window support back in August. When will it be deployed?

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    "It would be impossible to bring back the full catalog of features available in previous versions of Skype all at once"

    If feature parity had been identified as a requirement at the start of the development process (and why wasn't it?), and the product had not been released until this was achieved, that would have worked fine and addressed the problem "all at once".

    In fact, most people would never had had a problem in the first place.

    But now you are in this position, restoring all missing functionality should be crash priority.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    @Paul

    Indeed. Here, it's a bit of a walled garden where people who are already annoyed go. Out there, we're in public and pointing things out to prospective users.

    However, I hope I have stayed on the right side of the line between annoying and rude. I try to always criticise the ideas, never the people.

    I find it helps to assume that the people we are interacting with are trying to help - not always successfully, but they are trying.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    TL;DR - I was annoying.

    @Chris, @Paul - I just made my presence felt in the Skype Twitter stream for a couple of days and they reached out to me. (Probably to divert me from airing these concerns repeatedly in public.) Their message said:

    "Hey Sean! We've appreciated your contributions to the conversation in recent days. Your insights haven't gone unnoticed. Mind sending us a DM so we can try and come up with a path forward?"

    What followed was a conversation pointing out the uses of the various options. Who could have thought that setting fonts might be an accessibility issue? (Despite it being pointed out on multiple occasions here.)

    As I pointed out at one point:

    Skype: "Your feedback is pointed but always respectful and appreciated. On our end, we compile a list of themes re. user feedback and create reports for our development team on a regular basis. We generally try to ensure some of your ideas, in particular, are highlighted on this list."

    Me: "That's nice to know, but I'm really not saying anything new. That's what's so frustrating about it. All of these things are known problems which have been among the highest rated on the three incarnations of the user feedback forums I have been involved with."

    I'm not sure how direct the line is; it's still someone in the Twitter team, but I got the feeling that it was a tier above the team who handle most of the interaction on the public Twitter feed.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I had a long DM conversation with @Skype on Twitter last night, discussing the need for options and features from Skype 7.

    They seemed receptive, but nothing I said to them was really new - the developers should already know that people want things like font options, and that this is an accessibility issue.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    18 years ago, Joel Spolsky wrote a very influential column entitled "Things You Should Never Do, Part I"- https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/04/06/things-you-should-never-do-part-i/

    This focussed on the problems of rewriting your code from the ground up. The one point key to this particular discussion is this:

    "The idea that new code is better than old is patently absurd. Old code has been used. It has been tested. Lots of bugs have been found, and they’ve been fixed. There’s nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t acquire bugs just by sitting around on your hard drive. [...]

    "[A function] it has grown little hairs and stuff on it and nobody knows why. Well, I’ll tell you why: those are bug fixes. One of them fixes that bug that Nancy had when she tried to install the thing on a computer that didn’t have Internet Explorer. Another one fixes that bug that occurs in low memory conditions. Another one fixes that bug that occurred when the file is on a floppy disk and the user yanks out the disk in the middle. That LoadLibrary call is ugly but it makes the code work on old versions of Windows 95.

    "Each of these bugs took weeks of real-world usage before they were found. The programmer might have spent a couple of days reproducing the bug in the lab and fixing it. If it’s like a lot of bugs, the fix might be one line of code, or it might even be a couple of characters, but a lot of work and time went into those two characters."

    The same thing applies to settings and options. Options didn't blow in as spores on the wind and grow on the code. They were deliberately introduced in order to address some user's need.

    By ditching the options, you're ditching all the experience behind them. You're ditching all the implied knowledge that, for instance, different people need different ringtones because they are working in different environments. You're ditching all the effort that was invested in identifying those requirements, triaging them, designing the options to help people, and the implementation effort required to make them work.

    The requirements are still there, just like they were before September 1. And every user who relies on these options suddenly has them yanked away.

    No wonder they're annoyed.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    When you are dealing with a long-lived, successful program, the most important people to cater for are the users. For me, Bruce Tognazzi gets this sound bite exactly right:

    "It doesn’t matter how fine a logical argument you can put together for how something should work. If users expect it to work a different way, you will be facing an uphill and often unwinnable battle to change those expectations. If your way offers no clear advantage, go with what your users expect."

    I'll repeat that: If your way offers no clear advantage, go with what your users expect.

    I couldn't have said it better myself.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Despite promising a widely-publicized reprieve for Skype 7 earlier in August, here's the feedback I got from Skype Support on Twitter today:

    "Hi. Good day. You are right, Skype Classic (version 7.x) will be retired on 1st of September 2018. Is there anything that you would like to bring up or share?"

    https://twitter.com/sean_t_ellis/status/1035481050191994880

    Sean Ellis supported this idea  · 
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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Copied here too:

    Since the split view is used to keep track of several chats at once, this necessarily restricts the amount of screen space we can give to one chat.

    We therefore also need a compact view mode to allow small windows to show a decent quantity of text. This should ideally be at least as compact as the chat view on Skype 6.21, before the introduction of the speech bubbles.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    Although I have voted for this idea, it's not necessarily a precise copy of Skype 7 that I want. (6 was more compact.)

    What I want is for basic UI principles to be upheld - particularly that the user owns their own experience, and for the program to work how they expect. This means more options, not less.

    It means conforming to platform conventions, not the conventions of Skype across platforms. I use multiple programs on my machine, and Skype on only one platform.

    It means supporting existing features. You can't take away basic functionality and call it an upgrade.

    It means supporting its use by different types of users with different needs by offering them UI that is configurable to people's needs separately, not trying to please everyone with a single immutable compromise design.

    It means that although the default settings might be dictated by the marketing department to attract new users, I want to be able to override them once I actually have the product. At that point, "brand identity" means a lot less to me than actually getting my work done.

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    Sean Ellis commented  · 

    I'd prefer 6.21, but 7 will be fine. It must at the very least fix the basic missing functionality before Skype 7 is turned off, and it must include a truly compact mode which allows at least 4x the text density of Skype 8.

  14. 8 votes
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  15. 19 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Notifications  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  16. 15 votes
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    0 comments  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Settings  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  17. 16 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Notifications  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  18. 19 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Contacts  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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  19. 8 votes
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  20. 35 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Welcome to Skype Ideas! » Design  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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