Facebook users are swaying more in the direction of mobile usage, and the company knows that it has to focus more on that experience. And to make sure that its mobile team is well-aware of the shortcomings of the Facebook mobile product, Facebook recently forced them to use mobile.
No, not a suggestion, as in “you should spend more time on mobile in order to better develop for mobile.”
It was more like a “we’re forcing you to use mobile.” And they did it by internally shutting down their access to the desktop site.
Here’s what Facebook product manager Josh Williams (the former CEO of Gowalla) recently had to say at SXSW:
To be honest, a couple of weeks ago, myself and a number of other product managers had access to our website internally shut off,. Basically it forced us to use only mobile devices for a week. It forced us to say, ‘Hey, we have these features that exist in one place but not in another, and we have to remedy.
This is some serious dogfooding (using your own product in order to learn more about your own product), but it’s not the first time we’ve heard of this kind of thing coming out of Facebook.
Back in August of 2012, Facebook released a massive overhaul of their iOS app. It was entirely rebuilt upon the concept of speed – and they succeeded with an app that was slick and blazingly fast compared to the previous version.
Soon after, Facebook instituted an iPhone-free policy around the workplace in order to force employees to use Facebook for Android. The feeling was that users who were hands on with the Android app would be better at fixing it, because it surely needed an overhaul at the time as well. It eventually got that speed boost.