Feature Proposal: A True Global Search Field in iOS

parasightparasight Junior Member

Brace yourselves, this is a long one. I did do a search but it didn’t come up with any similar threads, so here goes.

The Introduction

Let me start off by saying that I love 1password to bits and I use it on all my devices every single day. I’ve been a big fan since forever and I plan to keep using and advocating the apps. I really don’t know what I would do without it. I also think you’re doing a fantastic job and your customer service is hands down the best I’ve come across from any software company, ever. I just need to vent a little about one topic that’s been a constant source of frustration to me. I’m a designer by trade so I guess I get worked up about these kinds of things easily.

The Problem

I really, really, reeeeally dislike the fact that in the iOS app, it takes three taps to get to the search field. I save my most frequent logins in Favorites, but for everything else it’s always “Categories -> All Items -> Tap in Search field”. Now I don’t know about you guys but I find myself repeating this process pretty much daily and I don’t quite understand why it has to be that way. I’d love if it worked just like the OS X app, which is instantly accessible and searches across all categories and takes me a fraction of a second to get my item. Even more so with the awesome (!) new menu bar app. It works like that on the iPad, more or less, in portrait mode. But when you get to landscape mode, oh, nope, it’s the three taps of doom again. Considering this is a mobile app, it should be taking equal or less taps than desktop software, not three times as many.

The Proposal

Now, I don’t like to criticize without being constructive, so here are some proposals that could be solutions. These are just ideas. Perhaps you could take them into consideration for your iOS7 update. I’m sure it’s way more complicated than this, but it’s nearly 1am past 2am and I shouldn’t even be up. :)

1. The less complicated two-tap fix

Move the search field up one level, to the root of categories. It’s still two taps instead of one, but at least it’s easier to find and not hidden in one of the categories. You’re essentially already doing this on iPad portrait. This would work for both iPhone and iPad.

2. The more complicated one-tap fix

For the iPhone layout, I understand that all of the icons are necessary and semantically well placed, and that there is no room to add another one. That makes perfect sense if the app is to remain in this layout for iOS7. There is, however, one possibility. You could add a search field to the favorites section. You could style it visually in a way that it does not interfere with the favorites list. You’d start up the app and find the two instant-access features right there: favorites and a global search. Tap the search field and that could hide the favorites list, either a) offering up a list of all items, unfiltered, just like the OS X app, or b) showing nothing until you start typing your query. The favorites tab would become a dashboard, essentially.

For the iPad layout, you could add another icon to the sidebar. I know, I know, and I don’t like saying that because there’s a real danger of making the app more complicated (and inconsistent with the iPhone app), but it’s worth considering. You could move the browser pull-out tab down a notch, place the search icon right next to the title bar. Upon hitting the icon, you could have a search field slide out across the title bar, fading out whatever else was there previously, with an [x] somewhere. Focus the search field immediately and there it is, one tap, and this one would even be accessible from every screen. It would also replace the lists below with search results, just like the iPhone version. This would be possible to implement consistently both in portrait and landscape mode. You would have to debate whether it’s worth increasing the height of the browser header so that the pull-out tab is still flush with the browser’s toolbar, or if there is a more elegant solution to this (suggestions welcome).

The Final Words

For all I know you’ve completely changed the layout for the iOS7 update and all of this is no longer relevant, but I thought I’d put it up for discussion anyway. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to tell me if you think this is a bad idea and why, as well. We’re always learning, right? Feel even more free to tell me you’re totally on it! ;)

All the best, people of agilebits, and keep up the fantastic work. Thanks for being consistently passionate about your users. We’ll continue to be passionate about you.


  • MeganMegan

    Team Member

    Hi @parasight,

    Thanks for this wonderfully detailed feedback! We very much appreciate the kind words and constructive criticisms. You're certainly not the only one who finds the search feature a bit hard to get to. While I can't say much about how the new iOS7 design will look, I'm happy to pass your thoughts along to our developers.

    Keep being awesome :)

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