Valorem Consulting

| Tags: HTML5, iPhone, UX

Facebook's new iOS app teaches us some lessons

Facebook's new iOS app teaches us some lessons

Now that Facebook has gone public, all of the chatter and speculation about how they will monetize their site - particularly their mobile versions - has turned into a full-blown obsession.  But before they can monetize their rapidly growing mobile audience, Facebook has to make sure it is providing a quality experience first.

Patricio Robles at EConsultancy did a great job pointing out the five lessons that we can all learn from Facebook’s upgrade last week to their mobile iOS app in this article.  The biggest complaint of the old app version was its notoriously slow speed.  Not a good thing in this on-demand, short-attention-span world of today’s consumers.  Here is what he had to say about what others can learn from Facebook’s mobile experiences:

1. The need for speed is real.

Facebook quite clearly underestimated the importance and high level of expectations mobile users have around speed.

2. Second chances can take time.

With more than 130 million iOS users, as much as Facebook is ramping up efforts to monetize its mobile users, it still takes time for them to wait for them to upgrade from previous versions.

3. User experience > developer convenience.

Facebook originally focused on a single codebase using HTML5 to it easier for their developers working across multiple platforms.  But focusing on convenience for coding came at a tradeoff of user experience as they failed to consider individual platforms.

4. You don't necessarily need to go native.

This doesn’t mean that HTML5 was the problem!  It's easy to look at Facebook's experience and conclude that native is a necessity. That's not necessarily true, however. LinkedIn, for instance, built its iPad app using HTML5 and it has generally been very well received by users.

5. Performance takes effort.

On the web, companies can often ignore many website performance optimization best practices thanks in large part to the prevalence of speedy connections. But in mobile environments, where connectivity can be far more limited and devices often have far less horsepower, it just won’t work.  Facebook explained, in their most recent post, how it took a greater level of thoughtfulness and resourcefulness to create a better experience.

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