Skype is the world’s leading peer-to-peer messaging platform with over 3 billion minutes of conversations taking place daily, all over the world. The amount of people using Skype regularly is already extremely high, but what they are planning for in the future takes them in a new direction, and is an arguably more ambitious project than they’ve undertaken thus far. Skype is in the process of enabling every single developer across the globe to participate in an operation to improve and transform the product, by building bots and integrating them into the application. The new “open and extensible” developer platform is now live– take a look at https://dev.skype.com.
To make sure that we were delivering the most accessible and user-centric experience, the Hackerbay design and product teams ran user interviews with developers to see if the platform was fulfilling expectations. We had very positive feedback during the entire development process, with specific emphasis on the importance of mobile and tablet compatibility. Many current Microsoft developers code primarily on portable devices rather than desktop interfaces, so we focused on enhancing the quality of both equally. The nature of working as a developer, whether freelance or contracted, centres around flexible scheduling and a work-from-anywhere methodology. Our primary user-base is comprised of developers who are attracted to the latest in digital innovations, which is underpinned by the prolific and widespread use of portable devices. We wanted the developers to be able to build new and unique features for Skype with maximum ease.
The challenges that we faced were mostly focused on enhancing the user experience beyond any other developer platform that was already on the market, or that was being built by competitors. Desirable aesthetics are usually underrated in regards to software-building platforms, as functionality takes precedence. We didn’t want to compromise on either, so we curated a design that was complimentary to that of Skype’s existing one, as well as in line with their branding standards.