Creating a Quick, Reliable App
Most mobile developers and anyone considering web design careers could learn a few things from Instagram. They went from zero to a $1 billion valuation and sale in just two years. We're going to break down and review a presentation Instagram co-creator Mike Krieger gave that included some of the secrets they depended on to make an interesting quick, reliable app.
Just how fast did they grow? Their iPhone app hit 12 million users in only 12 months. Speed was always part of their mantra and is even in their slogan. "Fast, beautiful photo-sharing" is the idea that guides their business, and while most users expect the beautiful, they take the fast for granted. Interestingly, Krieger said the fast was more important than the beautiful and the speed of the app was what fueled their growth.
Why does the speed matter? Because people fit mobile experiences into the sections of the day between other activities. And when you're waiting to do something, you don't want to wait on your phone. If you're building a mobile app, it needs to be fast. Anything on mobile should happen fast.
Because speed was so important, they invested in both engineering and design that made things feel and actually be fast. For example, users receive instant gratification when they perform an action; the like button changes colors instantly, even though the actual request may not have been received by the server. When you leave a comment or follow, you see it happen on your phone, and then the phone sends the signal. It feels fast, and the user never knows the difference.
The uploading process is another example of this preference for speed, unlike other apps that wait until you've entered all the info they'll include to upload your picture, Instagram uploads pictures first. Then they let you complete the other information you'll include like the location of the picture, or the caption you'd like to add. While you have to make some sacrifices on the engineering side to make the process work this way, it feels faster to the user, which is what really matters.
Instagram also depended on the idea of adaptive pre-loading. While they started out by loading a complete page of pictures in order, they learned if they load pictures based on the scrolling activity of a user, they can have the pictures most likely to be viewed already loaded. Mobile users provide all kinds of feedback every time they tap or swipe their fingers. Instagram made it a priority to gather and listen to this feedback.
Finally, the app takes advantage of any opportunity it has to move data when the user isn't watching. The example Krieger offered was when a user gets to the sign-up, the app is pulling suggested users in the twenty seconds the user will require to finish the sign-up. That way, the information is ready and waiting when the user is done.
Do you have an idea that's as big as Instagram? Do you have a quick, reliable app? Contact Artisan today if you're ready to show the world what you can do.
Brad P is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.
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