Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Zuckerberg shares his lesson from HTML5: Speed matters

Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 the other day.  He talked briefly about Facebook's stock performance, but spent most of time talking about Facebook's mobile strategy.

One of the interesting things that Zuckerberg mentioned was how he failed by focusing on HTML 5 back in 2010.  He recounted that the performance was not there to create the best mobile user experience, and talked about how he had to redo the mobile development work on iOS to provide the best user experience possible.  His conversation with Michael Arrington on this topic starts 11 minutes into the interview:

There is nothing that replaces user experience.  One of the biggest pieces in providing the best user experience is the speed.  Providing immediate feedback when user takes an action is the most important thing that system can do to build trust with user.  That's how Google won over so many users and became the gold standard in searching, that's why Zynga games are so addicting to play, and that's why new Facebook iPhone app feels so much better than the old Facebook iPhone app.

It's tempting to make product decision based on saving engineering cost.  But it is foolish to make trade-offs between providing the best user experience and saving engineering overhead.

There are costs to be saved, and costs that should absolutely not be spared.  Providing the best user experience is not an area to save cost.

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