Behind the Scenes Episode 1: The Birth of Orbit

  1. Zach X.
    Community Team Staff Member Oct 21, 2021

    Zach X. , Oct 21, 2021 :

    Hello friends,

    We hope you guys enjoy Orbit. Over the past few months, we’ve been working day and night to design and develop this special product, resulting in many memorable stories. I’m writing a series of Behind-the-Scenes episodes to share even more exclusive content with you.

    The Orbit story started with one survey. Earlier this year, we posted an annual user satisfaction survey to gather valuable insight into the community product experience. Thanks to you, key areas for improvement were identified. Based on your survey feedback, we pinpointed four key user requests: accessing effective solutions, exploring quality content more easily, discovering friends with shared interests and achieving recognition with other users. It was clear that these issues negatively impacted the overall user experience we strived to deliver.

    Over the years, Community Operations, @dsmonteiro, @Crystal Z., @Amanda and @Daniel D., received user complaints and negative comments relating to the product experience. As community representatives, we always welcome constructive and honest feedback.

    @strafer: “Since four years there is a sticky thread I opened to tell the world that the "app is crap". Since four years there was no reason to delete that thread. So why should I use the app?

    @hennes: “The concept of the app has been inflated more and more without taking care of the bugs, there is clearly a lack of a structured flowchart for the app here.”

    @Its.Leandroo: “The lack of consistency, polish, and dedication is very noticeable.

    We are extraordinarily grateful to every user who submitted feedback and for their patience despite the poor product experience. Unfortunately, due to both limited resources and support, we were unable to implement significant product improvements, letting down our users over an extended period of time.

    In order to ensure community sustainability and development, our team has fully committed to improving the situation – by completely rebuilding the Community App from the ground up. At the same time, we were very much aware that we can’t succeed on our own. Simply put, we needed support from the company. After escalating the community concerns to top management, @Pete, @Kinder L. and @Oliver Z. attached great importance to this project. However, before we could ensure their support, we needed a solid product and business plan to convince them. Despite being unsure of the end result, there was no going back.

    Needing more user research, we posted a thread “Quick Question: Why do you prefer Community Web to community App?” to obtain more user insights. We collected hundreds of valuable feedback comments in a short time. Thanks to our long-standing moderator @superplus who kindly volunteered to help us summarize all the feedback, we were able to review every product suggestion received over the past few years. Following this, we conducted competitor analysis, user analysis, and product positioning, to distill the core value of the OnePlus Community. While there was significant disagreement within the team during this process, all of us remained committed to finding a better solution to solve all the highlighted problems. After multiple rounds of meetings, we devised the final plan, Orbit, and presented it to the top management team.


    Thankfully, the Orbit project was approved by the management team. @Kinder L. commented that: “OnePlus Community is the foundation of the whole company, let’s have a new start on the 8th year anniversary!” The Orbit app was designated an enterprise-level project requiring its own independent team. Resources, such as developers and designers, were prioritized and allocated to accelerate the Orbit project. Finally, on May 18th, 2021, the Orbit project team was formally established comprising members from different teams, such as Community, Software & Service Department, Legal, and Creative.


    However, even after establishing the project team, we still encountered significant challenges and uncertainty, some of which almost resulted in the cancellation of the entire project. I will share more stories soon. Stay tuned!

  2. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Oct 21, 2021

    Bobbie63 , Oct 21, 2021 :
    I hope the release wasn’t premature but time will tell.

    oops and first again.

    TibiTibi, the_o2, superplus and 13 others like this.
  3. Himanshu.Behera
    Ice Cream Sandwich Oct 21, 2021

    TibiTibi, Artemus, atenaa and 4 others like this.
  4. McJader
    Marshmallow Oct 21, 2021

    McJader , Oct 21, 2021 :
    I like the honest tone, let's see when this app finally becomes stable, if it will be convincing enough:D

  5. Dresa91
    User of the Year 2016; Most Active User 2020 Community Expert Oct 21, 2021

    Dresa91 , Oct 21, 2021 :
    Hey @Zach X. :)
    Thank you for this honest behind the scenes:)
    It is worth reading it.
    But please - offer also a web version:) not only the app:)

    Artemus, atenaa, otto2 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Oct 21, 2021

    Artemus, atenaa, otto2 and 2 others like this.
  7. Dresa91
    User of the Year 2016; Most Active User 2020 Community Expert Oct 21, 2021

    Artemus, atenaa, otto2 and 1 other person like this.
  8. psygarden
    OnePlus TV Product Ninja 2021 Oct 21, 2021

    TibiTibi, puccellino, Artemus and 5 others like this.
  9. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Oct 21, 2021

    Bobbie63 , Oct 21, 2021 :
    Not really, the fact I've been first a couple of times is based on pure coincidence.

    Artemus, atenaa, WakeAwake and 4 others like this.
  10. Cheetosdust
    Moderator, Content Coordinator Moderator Oct 21, 2021

    Cheetosdust , Oct 21, 2021 :
    Thank you for taking the time to write this, it captures the essence of the backstage while allowing us to understand the amount of work involved since its inception.

    Considering we are witnessing version 1.0.0, Orbit looks really good and, more importantly, it has a ton of potential. I am liking it more than I thought I would. There's something there that keeps you wanting to check it for more content; to check how other members are doing. And that's part of what defines a Community.

    Thank you once again and thank you to everyone involved. Keep listening to the genuinely good feedback some members are already passing around about it. It'll do great. :cool:

  11. BetiK
    Jelly Bean Oct 21, 2021

    BetiK , via OnePlus 7 Pro , Oct 21, 2021 :
    Thank you @Zach X. for the report.
    We can see that it has been a great effort to bring us the new app. I hope and wish that all suggestions are taken into account. I am one of the people who answered the survey in favor of the app over the browser version.
    While using the users experts will be able to suggest and help find a version that we all like.
    Watch out for the typo error there in the thread's opening image.

    Zach X., Cheetosdust, McJader and 2 others like this.
  12. Artemus
    Junior Moderator, Community Hero 2020 Junior Moderator Oct 22, 2021

    Artemus , Oct 22, 2021 :
    Not to be that guy but... you misspelled "Orbit" in the graphic. :tonguewink:

    Awesome read, though. Had no idea this was a thing in the making for so long, tbh. Great to see there's evolution being made on the community app that's definitely needed some internal maintenance.

  13. Yash Pratap Singh.
    Lollipop Oct 22, 2021

    Yash Pratap Singh. , Oct 22, 2021 :
    I had a super weird idea, but, what if the Orbit app is used as a portal to merge the Chinese community and the Global community? :cool:

    Translation is not a problem in today's world, and it will be great to have both sides of OnePlus on the same forum...we will have more people to interact with, and it'll probably help in expanding our global friend circle :D

    Also, @Zach X. when's Orbit coming to iOS? (or is it not? :eek:)

  14. the_o2
    OnePlus 9 Series Expert Community Expert Oct 22, 2021

    the_o2 , Oct 22, 2021 :
    @the_o2 and others : " Ques: I'm new to OnePlus anything you guys would like to recommend?
    Ans: Yes uninstall the community app and switch to its web version. " :p

    Good job Superplus :cool:

    Now, I just wanted to relax in Orbit, hope it matures with time and the feedback provided by the users :)

  15. TibiTibi
    Photography Expert Community Expert Oct 22, 2021

  16. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Oct 22, 2021

    Zach X., McJader, the_o2 and 4 others like this.
  17. superplus
    Head Moderator Head Moderator Oct 22, 2021

    superplus , Oct 22, 2021 :
    what about if I don't like it when it's finished? :( who can I blame?

    Zach X., McJader, the_o2 and 3 others like this.
  18. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Oct 22, 2021

    Bobbie63 , Oct 22, 2021 :
    Good question but isn’t it a bit late realising this now?

    let’s wait how it looks next year, we still have time to find someone to blame. What about a bald guy?

    McJader, the_o2, superplus and 2 others like this.
  19. Cheetosdust
    Moderator, Content Coordinator Moderator Oct 22, 2021

    Cheetosdust , Oct 22, 2021 :
    you are dedicating so much time to perfect Orbit that you even started the sentence with a lowercase letteR.

    As you can see from my previous sentence, you have my full support. :D:p

    Do you think that'll take a long tim..

    .. nope, you have found the culprit already. :cool:

    McJader, Dresa91, the_o2 and 4 others like this.
  20. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Oct 22, 2021

    Bobbie63 , Oct 22, 2021 :
    We all know who to blame, the thing is we first need to know what it looks like when it’s almost finished. What if the app works perfectly fine? In that case no need to blame anyone and we all should thank @superplus for all the good work she did and does. If it sucks, we could start blaming a bald guy.

    McJader, Dresa91, the_o2 and 3 others like this.