Google I/O 2019

This last week, Google hosted their annual technology conference, Google I/O. Before we get to talking about accessibility, I wanted give some background on Google I/O for those who don’t know. The conference is traditionally aimed at educating developers on how to create Android apps. Over the past few years, though, it has expanded to include so much more. Topics now include development for Android phones, Android TV, Android Car, and Google Chrome. There are also great sessions on design, including using Material Design and Material Theming. Google has even expanded to include presentations on artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart homes, and the list goes on.


One of the topics I’ve been drawn to learn more about is accessibility, sometimes referred to as inclusivity or inclusive design. Google I/O provided great talks this year on this subject. These session are all geared to making products that are more inclusive. Making an app accessible can seem overwhelming. Getting an understanding of who you’re building your apps for will help you better understand where improvements can be made.

History has shown that designing for inclusivity often improves everyones’ experience, not just those with disabilities. Making an app more accessible improves the experience for those with even minor, temporary impairments. Broken arm, eye correction surgery, being in a loud environment are all things that can limit your mobility, vision, or hearing. In these cases, you may be surprised to know you too can benefit from proper accessible design.

Google I/O 2019 Accessibility Playlist

Below is a list of all the videos from Google I/O that focus on accessibility. These videos are great for designs, developers and product owners to name a few. Some are more in depth than others, but all provide great insights.

Designing for Accessibility (Google I/O’19)

In this session you will hear from people who are working to make the world an easier place for those with disabilities to navigate, including Elise Roy, who will share her own personal story of how becoming deaf at the age of 10 became her greatest gift. A former human rights lawyer, she realized that design thinking can be used to help solve some of our world’s biggest problems.


Chrome OS Accessibility for Android Developers (Google I/O’19)


Developing for tablets and Chrome OS means designing for accessibility. This talk will highlight the accessibility features found in Chrome OS and Android and how users rely on them. This session will also deep dive into what Android developers need to know in order to make their apps work well with keyboards, screen readers, large screens, and external displays.


What’s New in Android Accessibility (Google I/O’19)


Learn about what’s new in Android Accessibility, including capabilities and features in Android Q. This session will focus on core accessibility products like Android Accessibility Suite, TalkBack and Switch Access as well as new products for the deaf and hard-of-hearing such as Live Transcribe. Lastly, you’ll learn actual examples of how Google uses qualitative research methods to inform product development.


Demystifying Android Accessibility Development (Google I/O’19)

This talk is for developers who want to make their applications accessible for people with disabilities, but have found the prospect daunting. In this session, learn how accessibility APIs in Android Q and AndroidX make supporting these users much easier. You will also learn about Google’s open-source accessibility testing tools and how teams can leverage them throughout the development process. Developers with experience with accessibility will also be interested to learn the new, simpler APIs.


Accessible Audio: Android Hearing Aid Support and the Audio Framework (Google I/O’19)


This talk is for media developers, audio hardware makers and hearing aid manufacturers interested in making audio on Android more accessible using built-in capabilities such as the dynamics processing effect (DPE) and Android Streaming Hearing Aid Support (ASHA). You’ll see examples of audio equalization using DPE to adjust for hard-to-hear situations using a reference application and learn implementation steps for hearing aid developer-manufacturers who want to implement ASHA.


The YouTube playlist can be viewed here: Accessibility at Google I/O 2019

For more on our inclusive design, visit our UI Design page. For more on our user experience practice, visit our User Experience pages. And of course feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!