Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why “Mobile-First” Should Be Your Default Philosophy

If it's important enough for the world's biggest social network, it's important enough for you:

[Facebook's new] apps are part of what Facebook executives say is a transformation into a “mobile first” company. Developing mobile products has been made a priority, they said in recent interviews, and every team inside the company has been reorganized with the goal of inserting mobile into its DNA.

“We have basically retooled and focused the company around mobile,” said Mike Schroepfer, vice president for engineering of Facebook. “It’s been a huge change.”

As part of the reformation, product teams have been arranged so that they now make mobile versions of new features at the same time that they are developed for the main Web site. Before, the company would make new features for the Web site, then a core mobile team would follow up with translations for mobile devices.

Facebook is also trying to spread mobile expertise throughout the company. Its top engineers hold training sessions every week for 20 employees at a time, teaching them how to program for Apple and Android devices. About 100 engineers are now working on Facebook’s mobile products, according to Cory Ondrejka, chief of mobile engineering.

With the training, the company expects to have created 200 new mobile engineers by the end of the year, Mr. Schroepfer said. Soon these classes will be open to any Facebook employee who wants to come, including those from areas like marketing and design.