Stats tell us that Facebook’s mobile app like FB, FB messenger and Instagram have over 90% retention rate on an average. The biggest trigger that prompts app users to uninstall an app is slow speed and aggressive battery consumption. But how Facebook prevents those uninstalls? Recently the ace social networking giant revealed the tricks of the trade. Facebook swears by the word ‘testing’ and it has a big team and huge infrastructure dedicated to the testing of its mobile apps i.e. Facebook, FB messenger and Instagram both for iOS and Android platforms.
If any one of you are lucky enough to visit it’s Prineville, Oregon data center, you would witness the magic yourself. Almost 2,000 Android and iOS smartphones are housed in 60 the specially designed racks that have 32 phones each, interconnected to a server. Android phones are connected via Linux servers and Mac Minis interconnect iPhones. These phones are controlled remotely during the testing. Installation, monitoring and testing of apps are done automatically done by the system. It evaluates the performance of apps and reports the findings to the Facebook developer located in any of the location.
The testing devices used are equipped to weigh two things; power consumption and performance of apps. Regression testing is done which checks the app’s performance to the baseline of previous version. If the results show that the app is slower in speed for it is consuming more power as compared to the baseline, the developer is deployed to fix the same.
User experience or commonly known as UX is the foremost important factor in the performance of the app and Facebook understands this very well. Various updates are released frequently for selected users for the purpose of UX testing. UX is weighed with in-built instrumentation into the app and here again the results are compared vis-a-vis to the last stable release to derive how the new features are going with the app users. If the test goes well, the limited version is made open to the worldwide Facebook users.
A sneak peak into Facebook’s test racks
The racks that comprise of testing phones are just like the other racks in Facebook’s 350,000 sq.-ft. Data center. Hardly anyone looks after these racks physically except when the system sends an alert pertaining to a hardware malfunction. The OS of phones be it iOS or Android are automatically downgraded or upgraded as per the requirement. Once they are done with the testing, phones are set to the same state as they were prior to testing.
Facebook has surely done a great job as it has shown how developers can introduce more and more features without compromising on quality and user experience. While it is true that Facebook has state of the art infrastructure and world class developers which makes enables it to deliver a masterpiece each and every time; other app developers should try to learn from Facebook which in turn would surely improve the app retention rate.