Facebook PDQ

image_thumb2544A company can have the best product around, but if the pages are too sluggish, if the product suffers recurring outages, if the user-product interaction is varied and inconsistent, the product’s overall Usability can, and does, suffer.

Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). Among the various components that define a product’s Usability, as well as Quick-UX‘s, are Accessibility, Consistency, Recognition, Navigation, and Page Load Time.

In answering the question of Usability, "Can I use it?" the sub-category of Page Load plays an instrumental role. Page Load, often obfuscated or connected with other perceived causes of a product’s dissatisfaction, ultimately, either positively or negatively, presents an unquestionable influence on a product’s overall Usability.

Example: Prompt Load Time (value = 1.0)

When I recently twittered my followers asking for their opinion of a web product that best exemplified a Prompt Load Time, some of the most common responses were…

WordPress and
Basecamp.

But, the product that received the most votes was Facebook.

00_facebook-homepage

Facebook is not only a good example of a product with a Quick-UX Usability Page Load Time variable value of 1.0, Prompt Load Time, but also a wonderful example of improvement along the same lines.

Amazingly, as recently as January 2008, Facebook was seen as one of the slowest, most inaccessible social networking products.

01_facebook-techcrunchies

Now, Facebook, is one of the promptest, fastest web products, with 350 million active users, 50% of which log on every day, with the average user spending 55 minutes interacting with the product.

Whatever part of the product with which the user chooses to interact, the end result is always and consistently the same… quick reaction and responsiveness – from visiting and interacting with one’s Inbox…

02_facebook-inbox

… to participating in conversations in the News Feed.

03_facebook-newsfeed

Should Do

With all the positive efforts being taken, some ‘flourishes’ of the user interface continue to inject a sluggishness into an overall snappy Page Load Time and user experience that would best be redesigned or redeveloped inline with the rest of the product’s established Page Load Time expectations. An example of such an interface event, with sluggishness caused by either the method of display, and/or of content retrieval, is the user action of adding a friend.

04_facebook-addfriend

If a recent interview with an anonymous Facebook employee is accurate, Facebook can be viewed as being very much on the right track to further improvement of their already Prompt Load Time.

On the continued optimization of downloaded file size and its client-side performance…

"…actually found out it increased the number of page views by 77%, essentially because we were reducing 77% of the page load, and therefore it was loading faster, and thus generating more clicks. We not only reduced our bandwidth, and how much we have to pay for our Internet, but we made the site faster and increased the clicks-per-minute, which is what we’re truly interested in."

On the optimization of server responsiveness…

"…this guy right now is single-handedly rewriting, essentially, the entire site. Our site is coded, I’d say, 90% in PHP. All the front end — everything you see — is generated via a language called PHP. He is creating HPHP, Hyper-PHP, which means he’s literally rewriting the entire language.

"We’re going to reduce our CPU usage on our servers by 80%, so practically, users will just see this as a faster site. Pages will load in one fifth of the time that they used to."

Next…

Over the course of this series we explored many real-world examples of Page Load Time values…

Poor Load Time (value 0) [Twitter, Twine]
Delayed Load Time (value 0.5) [Conversation Pieces]
Prompt Load Time (value 1) [Facebook]

Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of exploration of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.

Enjoy, Discuss & Tweet!

Jeremy Horn
The Product Guy

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This entry was posted in user experience and tagged , , , , by Jeremy Horn. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jeremy Horn

Jeremy Horn is an award-winning, product management veteran with thirteen years of experience leading and managing product teams. Jeremy has held various executive and advisory roles, from founder of several start-ups to driving diverse organizations in online services, consumer products, and social media. As founder of The Product Group, he has created the largest product management meetup in the world and hosts the annual awarding of The Best Product Person. Jeremy can currently be found pioneering the next generation of content management and sharing at Viacom, acting as creator and instructor of the 10-week product management course at General Assembly, and mentoring at Women 2.0 and Lean Startup Machine. Follow Jeremy on twitter @theproductguy or his blog at http://tpgblog.com.

5 thoughts on “Facebook PDQ

  1. Pingback: Slow Paced Conversation Pieces « The Product Guy

  2. Pingback: Twine Tied Up in Load Time « The Product Guy

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  4. Pingback: On the Page Load Time of Quick-UX « The Product Guy

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