Head of User Experience

Devising and undertaking a programme of competitor and comparitor research.


Experience Research & Strategy

Various departments within Skype had become isolated, resulting in an inconsistent and impersonal relationship with their audience.

They wanted to understand where they should focus their attention in order to increase sign-ups and usage, whilst reducing churn – staying ahead of their messaging app competitors in an increasingly crowded sector.

They asked us to carry out a comprehensive review of a selection of messaging and non-messaging apps in order to identify ways in which their onboarding experience and communications could be streamlined and enhanced.

In order to understand exactly the Skype sign-up and onboarding experience, we put ourselves directly in the customer’s shoes.

We devised a complex and detailed research programme, creating a selection of user types with varying behaviours. This was designed to trigger and capture any activity-based or feature-specific communications.

To evaluate the Skype experience further, we included 15 other apps in the research – some competitors in the instant messaging category, and some in others (Starbucks, LinkedIn, FitBit, Spotify) in order to uncover category trends or best practices as well as insights into how other popular apps deliver their communications.

Over the course of eight weeks, we signed up and created profiles for each app, and then used them to varying degrees. Some profiles used the apps every day, some once a week. Some used video calling, some just used messaging. Some added contacts, some just signed up and never did anything else.

We wanted to see whether users were identified and treated any differently depending upon their level of engagement with an app.  As the study was held over Christmas, we also decided to track any seasonal messaging that was sent.

Once the research period was complete, we analysed the results, and produced a report that covered in great detail all of the sign up journeys, data capture, favoured communication channels, as well as the frequency and type of messaging (onboarding, in-life, promotional, cross-sell, reactivation etc.)

The findings were interesting, not to mention surprising. We were able to make significant recommendations as to how Skype could not only improve their sign-up journey, but gain a significant advantage over their competitors by changing the focus and timing of their onboarding and in-life communications.

Following the research, we conducted further workshops with various departments at Skype, using the research findings to help produce a ‘State of The Nation’ diagram.

This showed in great detail the various journeys, business logic and types of communications that Skype users received in the first few weeks following sign-up. This map helped to increase cross-departmental knowledge and deliver a more efficient, consistent and personalised communications strategy.


week review period


apps reviewed


user profiles


notifications mapped