How to determine the category of an existing item?

edited February 2019 in Mac

If I'm looking at an individual item, or a header for it in an All Items or Tag list, how can I tell what the category of the item is?? It's deducible in most cases from the format and fields available, but that's kludgy.

In the iOS client, within the item itself 1P tells me at the top "Login," "Server" or whatever. But I can't see any equivalent in the Mac, Windows or web clients (I only tried the Chrome web client, I did not try Firefox or other browsers (which I presume would get the exact same content) or 1Password X). Also none of them indicate the category in an All Items or Tag list.

1Password Version: iOS 7.2.7, OS X 7.2.4, Windows 7.3.657
Extension Version: on Chrome 71.0.3578.98
OS Version: OS X 10.14.3, iOS 12.1.3, Windows 10 1703
Sync Type: N/A


  • LarsLars Junior Member

    Team Member

    @BLD - you should be able to tell via icon: each Category has its own default icons, and custom (or rich) icons are different as well. Websites will have a typically flat, "square" icon, not unlike a site icon or even favicon (though larger and higher-res). Software Licenses will be the only ones that have a more "3D" look or any transparency to them, such as this:

    Credit card items are based on the type you choose, either Visa or MC, AMEX, etc, while Documents always have a "page" icon, bank accounts have the coin image with the dollar-sign "embossing," etc.

    It's deducible in most cases from the format and fields available, but that's kludgy.

    I mean...I guess? We can certainly consider adding some kind of category indicator to other 1Password clients, but for one thing, we assume you tend to remember what items you have (and what category they belong to), there are indeed differences in the icons, and also a quick glance at the details will tell you what it is. In regard to the lists (whether All Items or Tags), even in 1Password for iOS you still have to click through to the item itself to see the small-font indication of what the item is; this was done to keep the interface in the list itself uncluttered and avoid having to add another line which would increase the size each individual item takes up on the screen.

  • @Lars I got a chuckle out of "tend to remember." If I did that, why would I need 1P in the first place? :-P

    I was afraid that's what you would say about the icons. However, I customize the icon of every item with the vendor/site/etc with which it's associated. Sometimes that icon is enough obviously, but sometimes it's not -- for example, with an airline I might have a Reward Program item and a Login item, and both have been customized to have the logo of the airline.

    I guess I'll put a short code in the title of every item to remind me at a glance what category of thing it is, but that's painful. Please consider adding the same category indicator in the item in all clients that the iOS client has, as well as something in the lists. I totally agree about noise and clutter in a UI though -- so you do need to be careful. Perhaps a mini version of the standard category icon to the left of the title?

  • LarsLars Junior Member

    Team Member
    edited February 2019

    @BLD -

    I got a chuckle out of "tend to remember." If I did that, why would I need 1P in the first place? :-P

    Heh. Fair enough. But there's quite a chasm between "tend to remember what items you have saved" and "tend to remember all the strong and unique passwords you have for each one." I dunno about most users, but I can generally remember which banks I have accounts at, but not what the sign-in password for each one is, etc.

    But we perhaps forget or overlook that while we find it quite easy to determine category from even a casual glance (because we do this all day, every day), others may not find it so quick or simple. I've filed internal issue #3069 for this, and although I can't give you any idea when or even if you might see some movement on it, I do think your points about uniformity of experience across client apps is well-taken.

    ref: apple-3069

  • @Lars Sorry, what were we talking about? 😉

  • LarsLars Junior Member

    Team Member

    @BLD - 😆at 52, this is happening to me a distressingly increasing percentage of the time, so I feel your pain. :)

  • MrCMrC Community Moderator
    edited August 2019

    This has always bugged me too. I feel like sometimes I have to work too hard to figure out which category an item is (since I do a LOT of import testing with rather generic data).

    Maybe there's some color coding you can do. Exaggerated for effect:

  • MrRooniMrRooni

    Team Member

    @MrC I see Lars has filed a feature request with the reference apple-issues#3069. Thanks for your input!

  • I inadvertently started an additional thread asking about the same feature, here:

  • ag_anaag_ana

    Team Member
    edited August 2019

    No worries! Thank you for letting us know :)

    ref: apple-3069

  • Please don't take offense @MrC but I don't think color coding helps much. There's no rhyme or reason why any particular color should mean Login. Wouldn't it be more consistent with the UI to use the very same Category icons you have in the sidebar? Maybe a small version right in front of the Item Title (I'm not a fan of having that information over on the far right)...

    Piling on with respect to issues raised in the other thread on search results specifically, it would be helpful for me to have a preference for the sort order in search results. So even if I'm currently sorted by title, the act of typing into the search bar would sort by Category (my preferred choice). It appears that 1Password remembers my most recently used search results order, but I wish you'd give us control of the search results in 1Password Mini too!

    MOST IMPORTANT, give us a check box to allow Login items to be the first category on the list (to better support "search and go" to log into another site). Aside: why are the categories sorted alphabetically in the main window but you put Logins and Secure Notes at the top of the Categories list in the sidebar? FYI, I'm not complaining about the sidebar...I like that prioritization. I just would like it for the main window and 1Password Mini search results too!

    BTW, @MrC's mock-up does make me think of another potential improvement regarding search results. Could 1Password update the item count for items in the sidebar to match the search results? That would be very helpful (and only underscores more that the Category order should be the same in the sidebar and the main list).

  • MrCMrC Community Moderator

    i don't take any offense, @rlh - each of us sees and thinks differently. For me, color shading works fine for me (e.g. Apple Mail, Finder Tags, Fantastical calendars, etc.).

    Anything that clearly indicates the category is sufficient, be it a small icon, or color shading.

  • brentybrenty

    Team Member

    Good points all around. Thank you! :):+1:

  • MrRooniMrRooni

    Team Member

    One of the things that has not yet come up in this discussion (outside of MrC’s import testing scenario) is why it’s important to know the category of an item while looking at the details. Is there something you’re doing with the item that is easier or clearer because you know what category it’s in?

  • After re-reading this thread, I perceive two different "issues":

    1. @BLD is requesting something on the "card" for selected item and I can see his point. If I had a long list, perhaps after typing a few characters in the search field, it might be very fast to arrow-down while watching the cards focusing only on the second line where it would say "Login" or "Wireless Router". Absent that you really have to do a global view of the card contents to figure out what you are looking at. I agree with @Lars that the icons could serve that purpose with the exception of Logins having unique icons (so I can't train my eye to look for a single icon type) or for those of us that put custom icons on some other data item. I can't say I have run into this use case where I've desperately wished for a solution but now that we are discussing it I can see it as useful.
    2. @MrC was more focused on the middle "list" column (and that's the part of the discussion I jumped in on). His mockup shows it beautifully, having a list of items from a vault or the results of a search, sorted in something other than Category order. The colors (or as I suggested, additional icons) would be a way to quickly spot a Login, or Document, etc. in a list of similarly (or identically!) named items without having to click on each one. After some additional thought, neither colors nor additional icons are needed if the Item has its default icon so this "solution" is only really needed for Login Items (assuming they generally all get custom icons automatically) and any item I manually add a custom icon to. What's the correct UI solution? I'm pretty sure it's not to only show the default icons on the list column! :) You could put a small monochrome icon (like in the Category sidebar) next to each color icon but that seems like a cluttered solution. The colors solution that @MrC favored might be better but could seem garish (if colors were too contrasty) or end up being useless (if the colors were mild and "tasteful").

    But to answer @MrRooni more directly. In either of the above cases, I don't think it "is easier or clearer because you know what category it’s in" (after clicking it it) but rather when I know I'm looking for a particular category item it might help me get to the item of interest more quickly. And the truth be told, if I know I am looking for a particular category of item, I don't generally need any additional UI affordances as long as I can have a Category sort order in every view (which I don't get in 1Password Mini search results).

  • On the iOS Category tab, you pick from a list of categories.

    You then see a list of items in the category.``

    Tap an item, and on the "card", you see the item name, and, directly under the item name, in gray text, the category name. I like it there.

    We can debate colors, icons and text forever. There is no universal preference.

    On Windows, 1Password's taskbar tray "Mini" pop-up is icon based, and if you asked me what every icon in the pop-up means, I couldn't tell you. A few are evident - the star must be favorites, the credit card is a credit card. The gear is settings, even though it's the 4th circular icon, which means that in this case, it doesn't stand out as much as a gear icon usually does.

    What is the white square with a key inside it, vs. the key icon?

    What is the set of 8 empty circles with an empty circle in the middle, vs. the circle of filled circles that is kind of a wheel with spokes - heck, I can't even describe these icons in English!

    What is the circular face icon?

    It turns out one of the circles of circles is "All items" - why should it mean that? It's just a bunch of circles.

    Another circle of circles is the Password generator - why? What about a circle implies that?

    The square with the key is Logins, while the standalone key is Password - ooookay, if you say so! It could easily be the opposite.

    And the circular face is "Vaults." Ooookay.

    None of this works for me at all. I click them randomly to see what I get, or I hover and wait for the tooltip text to appear.

    (Actually I don't even use the Windows version, that was just an experiment. I use 1Password on the Mac.)

    If item types are ever added to the item card, then I'd suggest trying to make everyone happy.

    Below the item name, and either above or below the vault name, add:

    <category icon> <colored category name>

    Put a little category icon to the left of the text, representing the category type. It's always on the left, and always the same size, so that the eye always finds it in the same place; and, the eye would then also always find the text of the category name in the same place, just to the right of the icon. Eyes do not have to hunt to find the icon or the text. (If you put the icon to the right of the text, its location will "jump around" depending on the text length - bad idea.)

    Colored category name: for each category type - and there aren't that many - let a user designate a color for the category name, in Preferences, with a color picker. Yeah, give people the full color wheel so they can pick any color under the sun - I mean, if you let people pick colors, really let them pick colors.

    Now, icon-oriented, color-oriented, and text-oriented people get what they want.

    Should the names of the categories in the sidebar use those colors? Maybe, but since the background of the sidebar is dark, the same colors that were used on light gray cards might not work at all. A solution to that is a Preference checkbox for "Light sidebar" (or a radio button to toggle between light and dark sidebar), and a Preference to "Use category colors in sidebar". A user would quickly find out that a dark gray category color would not work on a dark gray sidebar, and would either flip their sidebar color, or change one or more category colors.

    Should category names (with their colors) be included in search results/lists? Maybe, in which case perhaps on a 3rd line. The tradeoff is that each listed item would take more vertical space, and the icon would be out of position unless it was repositioned down slightly, or enlarged slightly, when 3 lines are used. So maybe a preference is implied there too, one that is used in a lot of places - a checkbox to enable/disable "Compact lists" (sadly it would require more code to produce two styles for the list).

    Might as well use those same category colors in the category labels in the All Items and Favorites lists, when they are sorted by category.

    While I think it's better, where feasible, to give everyone choices rather than give no one choices, I can see how in the interest of simplicity some may come to the exact opposite conclusion. But: the beauty of giving everyone choices is that there is always the simplest choice - to accept the defaults! And, if even that is not simple enough, put these kinds of preferences on an Advanced tab where preference-averse users never venture.

    If I had to distill my essay down to one point, it would be that color tagging, icons, and text work differently for different people. If tackling a "problem" like this, think big - go all the way. Don't just satisfy one advocacy group.

  • BenBen AWS Team

    Team Member

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts here rlh and Tonetony.

    While preferences can certainly help in some cases we tend to have a fairly high bar for adding one: e.g. for one, we have to suspect that at least a certain percentage of customers would make use of it. Building, maintaining, and syncing an additional preference may seem like a small task but reality is there is a fair bit that goes into it. We have to be able to justify those changes. Additionally we do believe in the concept of "preference bloat." I think you can get a reasonable idea of this concept by searching for "add a preference" on this forum. There are literally hundreds of preferences that have been requested over the last few years. If we added all of them the product would be completely unwieldy from both a development and usability perspective.

    In short, that isn't to say we won't further consider this situation, but adding a preference would not generally be our preference on how to resolve it. :) We'll continue to gather feedback and see how we might best address these concerns.


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