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To Make Apps Accessible, Make Them Compatible with Different Devices

For several years, Google product teams have been researching how best to design for new internet users in India, Southeast Asia

Operating System

Software updates can consume a lot of device storage space and costly mobile data, meaning many users will not always choose not to update to the latest Android operating system—after all, one update could take up all of their prepaid data credit. Users may be running older versions of the Android operating system, such as Ice Cream Sandwich, KitKat, or Lollipop


  • Find out which versions of the Android operating system and which devices your users have.

  • Test your apps on old versions of Android.

  • Let users know that the app will work on old Android OS.

Account for varying contrast

Lower-contrast and lower-resolution screens are common. When using low-contrast and low-resolution screens in bright sunlight and humid climates, it can be difficult to clearly see the text and images on the screen. Low-contrast displays on some phones are often kept at low brightness to preserve battery. Some new internet users are older, and may have low vision or are in bright sunlight conditions and are need of high contrast interfaces. Apps need to be functional and easy-to-read in both low light and bright light conditions.


  • To improve usability, create a high contrast interface with accessible color contrast and font sizes.

Multiple screen sizes

Think small. Some phones have small screens or low to medium density screens. Reduce UI for navigation and actions and emphasize content. Devices screens range widely in size. Some devices are as small as 3.5 inches and 320dp x 480dp.


  • For low and medium density screens, make the text and images sharp and easy to read.

  • Avoid thin edged or lightly colored iconography as it might be hard to see them clearly on low and medium density screens.

  • For devices with small screens, design your interface to fit on screens as small 3.5 inches and 320dp x 480dp.

  • Avoid making the UI appear congested or unreadable.

Low battery

Some batteries deplete quickly. Small, inexpensive, and old batteries often leave people reducing brightness, enabling airplane mode, and minimizing device usage. Consider designing experiences that are aware of battery state and provide control and transparency to the user.

To conserve battery power, users may reduce screen brightness. Users may also turn off features like Bluetooth or Wi-fi to prevent running out of battery charge, especially if they aren’t currently using them.


To compensate for reduced brightness, consider increasing the color contrast and size in typography and icons for critical tasks.

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