While most of us in developed countries like the US, Japan, Canada, the UK, Australia,. and so on have the necessary funds to purchase high-end smartphones and get the best of the best technology, there are other parts of the world where even owning a mobile phone is considered a luxury.
What this means is that sometimes developers develop apps designed for powerful hardware in mind, and don’t take into account that there might be users with low-end devices who might struggle to run their apps. This is an issue that Facebook has recently acknowledged and in a post by the social networking giant, they revealed that in a bid to improve its Facebook app, they actually went to Africa to see what could be done about it.
Since most parts of Africa are still considered developing countries, the phones they have access to aren’t necessarily of the high-end variety. It also meant that they did not have ready access to high-speed internet connectivity as well, something which we tend to take for granted. According to Facebook’s findings, testing their app in Africa proved to be a challenge.
“The combination of an intermittent, low-bandwidth network connection and a lack of memory space on the devices resulted in slow load times and constant crashes. We even burned through our monthly data plans in 40 minutes,” said Alex Sourov, an engineer at Facebook. Based on this, they worked to help increase the start time as well as data consumption.
The results are actually pretty admirable. According to Facebook, they managed to reduce the start time of the app by 50%, and also managed to decrease the amount of data consumed by 50%. Of course Facebook’s efforts aren’t 100% purely altruistic. After all, the more people who use their app, the more revenue they can make from ads, but it’s still a good effort nonetheless.