Recent Skype versions freeze with a screen reader active
In an update of Skype released last year, I believe 8.54, the support for split view for chats was introduced. Ever since this update, the experience for screen reader users was really bad. Note that to reproduce this behaviour, you must have split view disabled.
With any screen reader active, personally tested with Narrator, NVDA and Jaws, pressing enter on a chat will often cause the app to freeze for a large period of time, up to 15 seconds. During this period, no keyboard navigation is possible and the whole app is unresponsive.
The same freeze can be reproduced while reading a group chat with many messages, after scrolling past 15 or 20 messages, the app will freeze in the same way.
Hopefully, this issue can soon be fixed, as it is really unacceptable that screen reader users are dealing with this lag for over half a year.
I will assume the comment above is automated, because I have mentioned multiple times the version number I am running. By the way, we are on 8.68, and the issue stilll persists. How long does it take your engineering team to investigate a critical issue for screen reader users?
The app is a major pain to use already for a year, and nothing is being done about it. I am patient and understand that it takes work to resolve a bug, but this has already been going on for an extremely long period of time. Clearly, with 36 votes, I am not the only person experiencing the problem. Any chance this could get some higher priority? In my view, an app freeze when opening conversations is quite critical, and deserves more than automatic and generic responses that go through the same process over and over.
I have also submitted feedback with logs through Skype itself. Not to mention that all the other Skype accessibility issues I reported in other threads still exist too, and who knows when they will be fixed. They are apparently still being investigated too.
Best of luck in the investigations, and hoping to see some visible progress soon.
Rick Bale commented
Fix skype freezing issue
The first thing you should do when your Skype keeps crashing is updating the application. Compatibility issues can come up if you’re using an older version of Skype.
Here’s how to update Skype on Windows 10:
Click on the three dots next to your profile information.
Click on Settings.
From the menu on the left, click Help & Feedback.
help and feedback
Skype will automatically check for updates. If a new version is available, you can click the Update button to get it.
Wait for the Skype installer to open. The installation should be an automatic process.
When the installation is complete, Skype will re-launch itself. You can navigate back to the Help & Feedback tab to check if your Skype is up to date.
help and feedback
Run Windows Troubleshooter
Windows 10 comes with a built-in troubleshooter which can help you fix general issues on your system. Sometimes running this troubleshooter will fix app-related errors such as Skype crashing.
To run the Windows 10 troubleshooter, follow these steps:
Open the Settings app by pressing down the Windows and I keys on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can launch Settings from the Start menu.
Click on Update & Security.
update and security
Find and click on Troubleshoot from the left-side menu.
Scroll down and click on Windows Store Apps to enter the expanded view.
Click the Run the troubleshooter button.
Follow the on-screen instructions to fix any possible errors.
hope this helps.
Thanks for sharing Nikola. Our engineering team is investigating and working to resolve the issue. Please continue to share your feedback here.
8.66: The issue is still present. Any update from Microsoft about this major bug? Are we going to see a fix in the near future?
if I understand correctly, version 8.65 is still in preview and not officially released. I am using the desktop app, downloadable from https://download.skype.com/s4l/download/win/Skype-184.108.40.206.exe
I have however tried the store app (even though I think they are the same now), and the issue definitely still occurs.
Then I have downloaded the preview version of Skype 8.65 (the desktop app), and the freezing issue is still occuring in that version too. I am unable to verify on the store version, because to get the preview of that app, as far as I understand you need to sign up as a Windows insider.
On the web version, accessible from https://web.skype.com/ the freezing issue never occured. There, the chats have always opened without any lag, so that remains to be the case. So this issue is exclusive to the store and desktop apps.
Hope that was clear, let me know if any further clarifications are needed.
Thanks for sharing this feedback with us Nikola. Are you on Skype version 8.65? If you're able to update to that version the Skype app should work as expected. Please let us know if that isn't the case.
Also quick question are you on the Skype app from the Windows store or the Skype app on the web?
Storm Productions Music commented
I can definitely confirm that this issue occurs with my NVDA 2019.2.1 as well, on a Windows 10 1909 laptop.
Hopefully this can be dealt with.
Absolutely, I'd be more than happy in assisting to reproduce the issue.
In this case, let's try with NVDA, latest version, 2020.2 at this time, though as I said the same behaviour is observed with both Jaws and Narrator.
I am running the latest version of Windows 10, 2004.
Here are the exact steps, using the keyboard commands.
First, make sure Skype is running.
Press alt plus 1 to focus the recent chats list.
Note: It may be necessary to first turn on NVDA's focus mode so the app can process commands. If the command does not work, press NVDA plus space to go to focus mode. This is normal.
After you find a chat you would like to read, press enter to open it.
As long as the split view option is disabled, you should observe that the app will stop responding to any keyboard commands, for example pressing tab to move the focus to another option.
Note: In recent versions of Skype, the app might actually respond, but this is only temporary for a few seconds, so you may find that pressing tab will actually move the focus to the next option, but if you try again the app will be frozen for the short period of time I mentioned above.
Sometimes, you won't observe the lag when you open the first chat in the current Skype session, so if you can't reproduce the issue, try opening 1 or 2 other chats in the recent chats list, and that should definitely trigger it.
Let me know if any further clarification is needed or anything additional I can submit to help fix this problem.
Thanks for sharing this feedback with us Nikola, we have a few questions about your post:
1. Could you share with us the Windows version you're on?
2. Could you share the version of the screen readers you're using?
3. Could you share the steps you're taking to repro this issue (i.e. the keyboard commands you're trying to use while the app is frozen)?
Please let us know if additional assistance or clarification is needed.