A free software program enabling people to communicate more cost-effectively and with superior sound quality

Functionality and use of design
Free and unlimited encrypted communication with other users of the Skype program. Improved sound quality – better than an ordinary digital phone. Capable with all firewalls, NAT and routers – easy to configure. Compatible with almost all platforms and based on the P2P-technology.

How did this design improve life?
Skype is a free software program that improves the daily life of people all over the world by enabling friends, families and colleagues to communicate more cost-effectively and with superior sound quality.

Skype uses the latest P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect users of the program, enabling them to talk and chat online, transfer files and establish conference calls.

When used for non-commercial purposes Skype is free to download and use. The rapid spread of broadband connections and Skype have resulted in free and unlimited global communication. As a result, the human desire to obtain global communication is no longer limited to expensive phone companies charging outrageous rates for long distance calls.

As initially claimed Skype had a dream to create low-cost communication for people all over the world. In order to fulfil this dream, Skype is constantly developing more communication platforms. So far, their efforts have resulted in Skype being compatible with the following operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Pocket PC.

Drawbacks of life improvement
Even though Skype is free to download and use, which has resulted in its global popularity, the spread of Skype only includes those parts of the world where access to a personal computer or the ability to go online is a given in everyday life.

Research and need
The purpose of Skype is to democratize global communication. Similar to the ideas behind the file sharing service KazaA, Skype seeks to give everybody a chance to communicate efficiently and free of charge. These ideas should be understood in the context of the rapid growth of IP-communication. It will decrease the cost of communication in the long run. The only drawback is that the devices which will be able to carry out the task of IP-communication are very expensive. Since Skype can be downloaded for free, it gives people all over the world a chance to communicate for free, thereby making the world a more egalitarian place to live.

Regarding the design of the Skype interface, it is very evident that chatting software like AOL, Messenger and the like have influenced Skype. The usability of the interface is amazing. The chat programs were all designed to communicate via the keyboard. Skype, on the other hand, has been perfectly developed to enable users to communicate by talking to each other. In fact, it is very similar to the interface of modern cellular phones – it was conceived to enhance oral communication.

Designed by
Niklas Zennström & Janus Friis - The Netherlands