by Cesare Rocchi

App Quality and Target Audience

I am pretty critic against Facebook but I can’t deny that Paper was a gorgeous app.

There are not many teams that can pull off a really well done app like Paper, and it’s a pity that it will be shut down.

If it was that gorgeous why didn’t it have success? There are probably a million reasons, like:

  • they didn’t push it enough
  • “political” issues within Facebook teams
  • change of priorities

and many more. All speculations.

What might be true, and not just for apps made by Facebook, is that the majority of users don’t care about quality above a given threshold.

We, software buffs, notice immediately if an animation is not snappy. We are even bothered if it’s not perfectly fluent. But some people don’t notice, or don’t care, or both.

If you are not into wine a bit, you don’t know the difference between a Porto and a Bordeaux. And there’s a huge difference. But you don’t have the tools to discriminate between the two, or you don’t care. Either way, they both look the same to you.

Along the same lines, there’s people that consider Paper on a par with the official Facebook app. But any software developer will tell you that there’s a huge difference.

This leads me to think that it’s extremely important to know who’s your audience. If you are building a tool for designers, you better make sure everything is pixel perfect, otherwise someone will notice immediately, and maybe even yell at you on Twitter.

If your target audience has a lower expectation, maybe you can afford to not obsess over the perfect timing of animations and focus on something different, like fixing bugs, adding features or shipping earlier to collect feedback.

Bottom line, it’s always a good idea to know what are the expectations of your audience.