Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Facebook Home Android app flop

Many of you may have heard that the new Facebook Home app for Android has been a dud. Here are a couple of articles by SFGate and Business Insider.

The San Francisco Gate article caught my attention as it talked about a theory raised by Josh Constine from TechCrunch as to why this may have happened. Lack of “droidfooding". The Android app was essentially created by iOS developers who didn’t understand how Android devices work and did not realize how "important widgets, docks, and app folders were to Android users, and that leaving them out of Home was a huge mistake".

If that is true, then it makes me wonder how the Facebook’s product management and testing (including Usability/UX testing) works. Despite the fact that most of the Facebook employees are reported as iPhone users it's quite possible that some folks from the in-house Android UX experts and test teams voiced their opinion about obvious differences between Android and iPhone devices interfaces and the potential impact on the users and business. The sad part about this story is that I can relate to what happened. I too was in a situation when I worked on a native app project that looked like a web site. My reasonings and sentiments were shared by others. Decision makers on the project took all the UX feedback and research information into consideration but moved forward with the release of the app without incorporating much of the feedback. Results were similar to the Facebook app. It hurt but there was little I could do.