What Does Red Mean on Skype?
By Aaron Charles
Just as in a business project or proposal, seeing the color red on Skype is generally -- but not always -- the opposite of getting the "green light." Whenever you see the color red on Skype, it typically means one of three things: something's wrong, someone is unavailable to chat over Skype or it's an indication to end the call.
Next to your contacts in your Skype contacts list, you'll see a yellow, red or white icon next to each name, which indicates each contact's availability. Green means a person's available to chat or talk, yellow means that the person's away from the computer or device -- inactive, in other words -- and red means that the person's busy and unavailable for chats or calls. You can set your availability to red or "Do Not Disturb" by clicking on "Skype" on the menu bar, and then "Online Status."
When you make a call on Skype, you'll see a menu full of icons representing a variety of call features. If you see a red line through an icon, it means that the feature is turned off or is unavailable. For example, a red line through the video camera icon means that your Web cam is turned off. To turn it on and eliminate the red line, just click the icon and that will reverse it. Additionally, in the same menu, the red phone icon is what you click to end a Skype call.
After you click on one of your contacts from the contacts list, you'll see a button with a series of vertical bars in it -- similar to the bars you see on your mobile phone that indicate signal strength. The bars in this Skype button mean something similar, showing your computer's or device's ability to make an optimal call. If the bars are yellow or red, it means that you need to configure Skype and make some other adjustments in order to make a quality call. To get started, click that very button.
Skype occasionally will alert you with messages in the area near your contact list. This is especially where you don't want to see the color red, as a red alert reveals an error has occurred somewhere. On the contrary, a yellow alert has to do with helpful Skype tips and a blue alert is for promotional messages from Skype. You can turn off the yellow and blue alerts from Skype's "Tools," "Options" and "Notifications" menus. However, Skype won't let you disable red alerts.
Aaron Charles began writing about "pragmatic art" in 2006 for an online arts journal based in Minneapolis, Minn. After working for telecom giant Comcast and traveling to Oregon, he's written business and technology articles for both online and print publications, including Salon.com and "The Portland Upside."