Improving Facebook on Android for Frontier Markets Like Africa

There’s a post on the Facebook Engineering blog by Alex Sourov about how Facebook product managers and engineers went to Africa to conduct on-the-ground testing and experimentation to examine first-hand mobile performance in frontier markets. Sourov first explained how they conducted their tests:

We purchased several different Android handsets to test the latest version of the Facebook app – and the testing process proved to be difficult. 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.

In the six months after the trip to Africa, Facebook engineers were able to make the following adjustments (as nicely summarized by the following article on ZDNet: Facebook retools Android app with focus on developing countries) for Android:

  • Reduced app launch and News Feed load times by more than 50 percent.
  • Made adjustments on data consumption (i.e. how much room photos take up, etc), cutting overall data consumption by half compared to the year prior.
  • Improved the networking stack, slashing slow and failed image loads by as much as 90 percent compared to the same time last year
  • The overall app size was trimmed down by 65 percent compared to the start of 2014.

Read the whole blog post, Improving Facebook on Android, on the Facebook Engineering Blog.

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