I’ve had a couple months to use the Skype for Business client on my iPhone. While it’s good to have, the client still has some issues which make it troublesome to use.
Since I first installed it & blogged on its feature set in October, Skype for Business on iOS has received 4 updates.
Useful for stability? Definitely. Did they fix everything? Nope.
Since one of this blog’s purposes is to document information about Skype for Business’ workings, let’s talk details. Here are the things that irritate me when using Skype for Business on iOS.
Can’t modify contacts on the phone.
I have 2 contacts on the list who changed employers months back. I deleted them from my Skype for Business desktop client. So why do they show up on my phone? And of course I can’t remove them, since this functionality is not included in the iOS client.
Adding other contacts to an IM conversation is flaky.
When inviting someone into an existing conversation, I sometimes find they don’t show up. Checking afterward reveals that they did not receive the invite. It doesn’t happen every time, but often enough that I can discount the occasional random failure.
There’s also a language difference between the desktop and mobile clients which deserves mentioning.
- If I want to invite more people into a conversation on my desktop client, the button’s label is “Invite More People”.
- If I want to invite more people into a conversation on my phone, I must tap the current contact and then tap “Add Participants”.
From a UX standpoint, this is bad. You’re doing exactly the same thing – inviting one or more people – but the language used to indicate the command is different. It can confuse some users and lead them to think such functionality isn’t in the mobile client.
+1 shows up automatically for all calls.
Luca pointed this out in a comment back in October:
“One of the worst change is the new dial pad behaviour ‘+ is automatically added to all Skype for Business for iOS calls’ (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3101663) that is a complete mess.”
Definitely frustrating. Every time I want to make a call, I tap the dial pad, then hit Delete, and Delete again.
Buggy Conversation History.
I mentioned this in my October post too. We’ve had 4 updates since then–and guess what? It’s still buggy!
The iOS client is pretty good about picking up Conversation History from my desktop client. The reverse however, not so much. Occasionally I have found logs in my Outlook Conversation History I knew originated from my phone. However, most of the time phone-based conversations never show up there.
For a full list of differences between the desktop and mobile Skype for Business clients, visit this page: Mobile Client Comparison Tables for Skype for Business – TechNet
Why I’m Blogging On This: You’re Not Alone
I’m documenting all of this here for two reasons.
- To explain the problems publicly, in case others are frustrated by them too & go Googling for answers.
- To wave at Microsoft and say, “HEY! Problems with the iOS client! Fix it!”
If you are experiencing these issues, here’s what I’ve ended up doing with my phone. They’re workarounds, but they do help:
- Using Skype for Business primarily for phone calls, not IM conversations.
- Only joining meetings on my phone if I’m not in the office
- Using the “Upcoming” screen as a reminder for recent conversations (all recent phone-based conversations show up on this screen under “Recent”).
- Making note of any important points discussed in an IM or meeting in an email (using the Outlook app)
As I said before, Skype for Business on iOS is not perfect. We’re coming up on the 1-year anniversary of the product family though…really need some improved functionality.
What’s your experience with Skype for Business on iOS? How about Android? Please comment or email. Good or bad, I’d like to hear about it.