As mobile internet growth continues to bring New Internet Users (NIUs) online, technology has adapted to fit this user segment. User barriers like devices and connectivity have declined as mobile phone prices have become more affordable and infrastructure has continued to develop, connecting more communities globally. App development has also evolved to better suit users on low-cost Android devices. Lite apps have entered the space as a solution for users in constrained environments. While there are many benefits to lite app designs, their effectiveness is unclear for their likely target beneficiaries: NIUs coming online.
In this mixed-method study we explore the experience for NIUs trying out a smartphone with lite apps for a month in Brazil and India (n=62). We conducted this research by collecting diary data and follow-up in-person interviews. Results found that three phases of challenges occurred in the first 28 days with a lite smartphone: 1) getting started with accounts, 2) learning how to use the mobile platform and apps, and 3) meeting expectations and mastering the internet. Through understanding the friction points in each phase, insights surfaced design principles for future NIU technology.