My activities:

  • Developed persona
  • Developed testing plan
  • Ran usability tests
  • Developed improved prototype and ran usability test 


Project Background and Problem Discovery

In this project, I performed a usability test of Skype's iPhone app. I found that users were confused by a lack of feedback on message and call success. This stemmed from "offline" status. The observed user screen flow is diagrammed below.

The top three problems I discovered were:

  1. None of the participants noticed the offline status indicator.
  2. None of the participants understood why they would not get a response after sending a chat message (participant was Offline).
  3. It was also not clear why a call failed to work after sending a chat message (participant was Offline).

Additional info:

On Medium, I published a more complete story of this usability test, which was featured as a favorite design link in This Week at InVision (Jan 19, 2015).


Home screen revisions

Some suggestions to help improve the usability, as found in my study, include a revised home page where the profile icon and current online status are displayed more prominently.


Communications-screen revisions

I also recommend some changes to the chat/phone communications page to help indicate when and why a message did not get sent.



The problems that I discovered as part of my usability test helped me find opportunities for improvement. These improvements span the home screen and the chat screen. I was also able to identify additional opportunities, described at the end of my longer Medium post on the subject.

Since this project, Skype has redesigned their app. Included in the new design is an alternate solution to the "offline problem". The latest version does not include an off-line option at all. Instead you have to fully log-out.