OnePlus shocked many of its fans this month when it unveiled OxygenOS 11 and the major redesign that comes with it. Now, in a forum post, OnePlus explains why it made the decisions it did with the design of OxygenOS 11 and how those decisions will benefit users.

The company explains that “stock Android is a good starting point,” but it believes there’s more that can be done to improve the experience. In the past, that’s meant some minor UI tweaks, useful features such as color customizations, and some custom apps, too. With OxygenOS 11, though, OnePlus is making much bigger changes to its skin.

As we’ve previously detailed, OxygenOS 11 takes the route of using empty space and smart design to make things easier to reach. OnePlus says it surveyed users and found most preferred changes such as bottom-bar navigation for apps and “headlines” with subtitles. All of these changes equate to better usability on bigger displays, something OnePlus’ lineup has no shortage of.

We’ve always said that stock Android is a good starting point for mobile devices, but we also believe there’s a lot we can do to make the experience even better. One important part of that process is user testing, asking user show we can fine tune certain design aspects to improve the experience. And all the while, we apply our burdenless philosophy to improve the overall look and feel.

As screens increase in size, so does the unused white space. We wanted to make the most of that space while keeping the interface easy to use. We conducted A/B testing with our users to determine the best size of the headline, and found that 65% prefer slightly smaller headlines. Also, 80% of users tested preferred titles with subtitles rather than without. The result is a new headline-body hierarchy that streamlines information delivery in OxygenOS 11.

Of course, OnePlus’ post doesn’t at all address the elephant in the room. The design of OxygenOS 11 is essentially identical to Samsung’s OneUI, and the reasons OnePlus offers are the same ones Samsung offered us in 2019.

Phones are big now, and smart software design can help make that slightly easier to deal with. Cool.

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