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Can someone explain to me the thinking behind the multiple app strategy for facebook? Personally I find it grossly inconvenient to switch apps when going from chatting with a friend to seeing their Timeline. What am I missing?

You're not optimizing for a user session measured in seconds by weakly attached people-who-are-not-technologists. Facebook is.

Slide open phone, one touch to open app, one touch to take picture, as few touches as possible to re-engage 2nd party "user" of app.

One touch to open Camera app. One touch to post pic.

Multiple apps to see what the pic looks like on my wall? Multiple apps to post snarky comment about pic on my friend's timeline? May be you are right that this is a use-case tech people have but from my observation, I see this pattern repeated all the time on facebook activity of non-tech friends.

On more than one occasion I have elected to use WhatsApp over facebook Chat app because of the app switch. My thinking is "hey if I have to switch apps, might as well pick the better chat app of the two". If this was built into the main FB app like it used to be, I'd be less likely to use WhatsApp.

As I see it, two factors combine to make this to optimal strategy:

1. Limitations of Mobile UI

Facebook isn't just one tool, it's dozens of tools combined. On a web interface with PC-browser sized real estate and mouse/keyboard interactions, you can pack a lot more features onto an app and not sacrifice too much in the way of usability and complexity.

With mobile, you have to make sacrifices due to limited screen real estate. As you pack in more features into any single app, you start having diminishing returns due to increased complexity.

2. Desired Tool

So considering the limitations, you have to ask: what function does the user desire in the moment?

Consider some of the FB mobile applications: Pages Manager, Camera, Messenger.

They're all quite unique from one another. On a web interface you might be afforded the luxury of building them all into the same app with a common entry point and framework.

But in mobile, developing all those functions into a single app would be complex due to the 1st point, and unnecessary due to the 2nd.

So considering the limitations, you have to ask: what function does the user desire in the moment?

In the moment, I desire just seeing a friend's timeline while I am chatting with him and being able to go back and forth between the two. Right now I have to switch apps in order to do this. Are you saying that I am in the exception to have this use case or that I am in the exception to find app-switching inconvenient?

You can still use the main Facebook app to message friends. From there, you can view the friend's timeline by clicking the information button in the upper right corner. You don't have to use the stand-alone Messenger app just because it exists.

They want you to replace Camera with Facebook Camera, and Messages with Facebook Messenger, and so on.

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