1Password Families have great UX

That headline is somewhat misleading and grammatically incorrect, however it is totally on the money for describing how nice an experience I had trying out the Agilebits service.

Disclosure: I am not getting anything from Agilebits to write this. Yes, absolutely zilch. Nada. I should just stop writing nice things if I don’t get anything in return. Like right now. Bye.

Actually I did get something in return: a good experience is what.

The following post describes my journey through from their homepage until I first sign-in to their services’ home-screen. It’s a bit long and has screenshots galore. Also: spoilers.


If you don’t know, and I am somewhat glad you asked, 1Password is a password safe. A tool that helps you generate good passwords and keep them somewhere securely for you. It’s also a doddle to use whenever you need to log-in or access to your private info, as it also happily secures financial details and notes.

I used to buy the desktop and mobile clients but £70 for one version is not an enticing proposition and boxed software is so 1998. Looks like Agilebits spoke to some people and designed the Families product. Actually it is a password-as-a-service (sorry) and only a fiver a month for five members of a family (let’s not call it a team or you’d be looking at a different product). As an as a service thing it naturally has something free to get your trying it and no credit cards are required.

Oddly their main website doesn’t make much of a song and dance about the whole Family business (again, apologies for lame puns) and you need to click on the menu.

It’s an enticing proposition, especially compared to their boxed versions that now look thoroughly expensive (Cleverbits). Maybe add a comparison to ram the point home ;-)

Let’s hit ‘sign-up for free’ and dive into the whole User Experience (UX) lark:

Nice friendly screen and I’m not being asked too much here. Good start.

I get my own web page address that I can share with the start-up team, sorry family, and amend if needed.

Third step has a pigeon on it and I still don’t know why but it is cute and the screen tells me it’s nearly over now.

Nice, simple and clean welcome(ing) email and straight-forward call to action. Apparently they are friends now, let’s hope they won’t want to share the mower or send me silly mobile game invites (they won’t).

Another friendly and easy to use screen that makes sense considering what part of my journey I am on and I can use a form pre-fill too (if you have a suitable device — nice).

Before dumping me straight into the challenging part, there is another friendly screen explaining what’s about to go down (notice the smily face in a good place — ain’t he cute).

Important message clearly communicated. It’s not a big deal because I got told beforehand. Remember folks: not everybody understands complex stuff.

Bit of a problem with this one as I can neither see their generator nor is the statement correct that this is the only thing to remember. I have to remember the account key also.

Fine, I don’t have to remember it in this step but generally I do have to keep both account key and master password handy. Anyhow, the screen is lovely and there is another smily lock to greet me.

Once I logged on I am asked to download and print the handy emergency kit. This is very useful and nicely done, so I oblige naturally.

Speaking of nice things that are easily obliged: notice the quests to conquer on the right-hand side that playfully get your account set-up fully and help you into their service. I find this a nice touch that helps users and overall the home-screen looks clean and easy to navigate.

Lastly and almost more importantly, it is a doddle to get all their fantastic apps on your favourite device — be it a Mac, Windows, iPhone or Android (no, nothing else exists — move along).

Just sign-in using your account key and master password and off you go. Great value and the sync’ing is also taken care of, so nothing to trouble iCloud or Dropbox with.

The burden of having to do stuff

With all this niceness and smooth User Experience it is easy to forget that you will still need the master password and account key, and your email, and the personal URL… to sign-in.

It’s a lot. A burden some may argue. Others will shout from atop their high walls that this be the price thee pays for proper security. In a perfect world top security would be as easy as pie and you just need to smile at the Machine to let you pass.

Don’t you know who I am? Let me in!

One day (not too far off) this will be the case. Some Android users may now commence looking smugly at their phones cameras thinking “But Axel, I am already there.”. Well, good on you sir or madam or what ever but for the rest of us we need services like 1Password to help keep us protected.

PS: Importing passwords from other services (like KeePass or Lastpass) is also easy and their support is just a tweet or email away. Friendly bunch that lot and quite prompt in my experience. Why not give them a try too and let me know how you got on?

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