Skype


Skype – Cyanogen integration

Cyanogen is an Android based platform that provides intelligent, contextually-aware experiences integrated directly into the operating system. What it means for the user is that instead of switching between apps, for example Skype – to communicate with some friends and Facebook messenger with others, user can access the functionality of these apps directly from native Dialer or IM. User can make a PSTN (regular call) or Skype call from the a single place.

People do not care how their messages are delivered as long as they are delivered. But continuity of the conversation is important to them. What it means is that no matter from which app the communication happens, having it in one place makes the most sense.

Role
Lead UX Designer

Challenge
Deconstruct Skype to offer Skype features from a native app. Work together with Cyanogen to achieve an experience that is intuitive to the Cyanogen users while maintaining Skype UX signature experience.

Process
During Stakeholder workshops, I gathered requirements and narrowed down the brief.
Skype and Cyanogen will focus on Calling experience and allow users to
Make Skype Video calls for engaging experience
Use Skype Credit to cut their international calling costs
Switch from PSTN to Skype call easily

Once we identified the goals, I put together a list of the flows that we need to work on

  • Seamless registration flow to use Skype on OEM devices.
  • Unified address book with synched local and Skype contacts based on smart contact merging logic (i.e. phone number etc)
  • Online presence of the contact
  • Integrated video calling capability from Dialer and call upgrade capability from voice to video
  • Frictionless flow to make cheap international calls over Skype.

Brief overview with select visuals of the main Use Cases

UC 1. Contextual nudge
Contextual nudge is a smart way to ask users to install Skype plugin.

Nobody likes being bombarded by upsell messages. But provided they are contextually relevant to the user, they are viewed more as “help” rather than promotions.

I created a diagram to identify contextually relevant areas for the nudge to avoid repetition and avoid promotion blindness.

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How it looks close up

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UC 2.  T9 – using numbers to type text

T9 was a big surprise for me! Cyanogen users (82%) use Dialer’s T9 search, to either dial or find a contact. I.e. typing 2662 will show contacts that have 2662 as part of the phone number as well as contacts matching “anna”.

Here is an example of one of the screens with T9 behaviour

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UC 3. Dialer

We spent days sketching and brainstorming ideas on how to create an easy but also scalable way to switch communication between Skype and SIM card on a Dialer. It had to be scalable as Skype being first is definitely not the only communication plugin that will be integrated on Cyanogen.

After trials and errors we decided to go with a small drop down. We also decided to introduce contextual help in the Dialer to help new users based on what plugins they had and whether that plugin was usable – i.e. don’t show plugin that requires wi-fi if user is not on wi-fi.

Here is an example of the switch

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Here is one branch of the Dialer contextual help tree

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UC 4. Merging contacts

Having multiple contacts for the same person is a pain. But wrongly merging contacts is a terrible experience. So we decided to remove the burden from the user when we had a 100% certainty (based on matching algorithms from the developers) and ask the user for help when we were not sure.

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UC 5. Calling from recent’s list

90% of our calls start not from a contact book but from a recent call list. I will not go into reasoning behind that, although you can check out “Dunbar number” to learn more. So, last case I will show is what we did with the recent calls list.

This also shows how Cyanogen works. An app is deeply integrated but you still preserve your app’s signature experience.

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As you can imagine this is just a peek into all the work that went into this. I worked with Aaron James from Cyanogen and you can see his name on the press release visuals, go Aaron! and a prototyper from Skype.

Skype integration on Cyanogen has been released

And Skype will integrate into the native dialer, so you can see your contacts and calls, whether they’re in Skype, or they’re just your regular phone contacts.

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