Ah, gotta love dogfooding. In a move to help their developers better understand the needs of Android users, Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox has announced a mandate that will force most of the company’s mobile developers to use Android devices exclusively.
The move is being made due to the sheer amount of diversity in the platform and the need for their employees to learn how to build usable apps for all sorts of devices. Not everyone can own a Nexus or a Samsung Galaxy S6, or anything with top-line specs. A good chunk of the 1 billion+ Android-using folks (who make up for nearly 85% of the world’s smartphone market) are using affordable devices which might only have dual-core processors and 512MB of RAM, or just 4GB of internal storage.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has implemented the dogfooding strategy to improve the Android version of Facebook. The same thing occurred just a few years ago when Facebook’s mobile site was considered more usable than the app that sat in Google Play. That led to a rapid evolution of the app to bring it up to par with its iOS counterpart, as well as ditching an HTML5 experience for a truly native app.
Facebook says their goal is to build empathy within the company for the many users who might not have the fastest internet connections or the best smartphones.
That led to the launch of another initiative called 2G Tuesdays, where Facebook’s employees can spend 1 hour using the social network on what we’d consider a 2G connection (which, if you haven’t used it in forever, is maddeningly slow). This should hopefully lead to a change in development structure that focuses on speed and usability for the lowest common denominator, and we’ll be paying attention to see if it leads to significant improvements down the line.
[via The Independent]