Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

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Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby Julian » Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:36 pm

I use Firefox 3 and I hate the Lastpass notification bar as a way of informing the user that LastPass has AutoLogin and/or Aufofill data for a web page. I find this mechanism far too intrusive because it causes the web pages I visit to get scrolled down which is annoying in itself but is at its most annoying when it does it every time I change focus to a tab that is open on a forum I am already logged into but LastPass doesn't know that, it just sees the login fields every time and so I end up having to dismiss the notification bar every time I switch to that tab.

The notification issue is easily fixed by just setting the LastBar preferences to not show AutoLogin and Autofill notifications but this then leaves me needing to use hotkeys to log in. Most times I will have got to a web page by using my mouse to click on a link from somewhere else, or maybe to select that web site from my bookmarks menu, and so at the point I want to log in I still have my hand on the mouse so moving to the keyboard to enter a key sequence is not the optimal user interface (at least for me). This leads me to strongly believe that, as well as the hotkeys, there needs to be a mouse-based alternative to initiate an autologin or autofill when the notifications are supressed.

My suggestion is only made with reference to Firefox since this is the only browser that I use on a regular basis so I appologise for that but maybe my suggestion is applicable to other browsers.

What I suggest for firefox is for the LastPass Firefox extension to make available either one or two extra toolbar buttons. These don't need to be displayed of course, the extra button or buttons would initially live in the "Customize Toolbar" window and would only form part of the user interface if a user chose to drag one or both of those buttons onto the main Firefox toolbar via the standard Firefox procedure for users to customise their toolbars.

So what would these two extra toolbar buttons do? Well, it's pretty simple. One would be an AutoLogin button for logging into sites and the other would be an AutoFill button for form filling. Each button would have two graphical states, either active when the toolbar icon is displayed in colour or inactive when the tololbar icon is displayed as greyed out (for instance the way the standard stop/interupt page loading icon works). The AutoLogin button would go active when there are login fields that LastPass knows how to fill in and the Autofill button would go active when there are form fields. When the active AutoLogin button is pressed then, if there is only one login, it will auto-login; if there are multiple logins then it will drop down a menu underneath the button to allow the user to select the login required. Similarly, the active Autofill button will either just fill the form or, if there are multiple identities defined, it will drop down a menu to allow the user to choose the identity to be used for the form fill.

The above is actually the most simplistic option. A few possible alternatives occur to me:

1) Do there really need to be seperate AutoLogin and AutoFill buttons? A combo button could be created that activates when either autologin or autofill data is available. If both are available then clicking the button will mean that the dropdown menu will display the list of possible logins first (possible just one), followed by the list of identies (again, possibly just one). There are two disadvantages that I can see with a combo-button, (i) if a web page has a single login stored then, if there are also form fields on the page, the user loses the ability to login with a single click because the combo button will drop down a list with the login plus the identities, and (ii) you lose the specific feedback as to whether autologin or autofill is available, you just get a composite one-other-or-both indicator.

2) I think drawback (i) above is potentially serious but, if we're still considering a combo-button, then could it be implemented not by adding an extra button but by having an option for the existing LastPass toolbar button to become smarter and to effectively be the combo button. If this was done then what happens to the existing functionality of that button? Two options occur to me: (i) make the existing functionality availably via a right-click on the toolbar button, or (ii) maker the button have two hot zones, the main icon and the arrow on the right. Clicking on the arrow pulls up the current functionality and clicking on the icon (when it is in its active state) will invoke the combo functionality.

Well, this turned out a bit longer than I planned but I thought I'd outline the full extent of my deliberations. Personally I think I like the simplicity of my first suggestion, i.e. just adding two additional buttons, an AutoLogin and an AutoFill button. The basic point in all this however is that I think it is 100% essential to provide a mouse-based alternative to those annoying notifications for invoking AutoLogin and AutoFill.

Finally, for anyone reading this who thinks that the LastPass UI is just perfect as it is and doesn't want any change then I will emphasis that all my suggestions are optional additions to the user interface so, if a user chooses not to enable them, then LastPass would continue to behave, for that user, exactly as it does right now.

- Julian
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby StevenT » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:34 am

I love the idea of having two extra buttons you can add to your toolbar for auto-login and auto-fill. As much as I like Lastpass, I really don't like how websites keep shifting down/up due to the notification bar (and as the previous poster pointed out, having to use a keyboard shortcut to auto-fill is also problematic since most of the time when I'm browsing the web, my hands aren't on the keyboard).

Please consider implementing this feature.
Thanks,
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby DaveH » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:49 pm

Another vote for this idea.

One of the best features of Lastpass is it's smooth and unobtrusive updating. Adding the less intrusive buttons would extend this unobtrusive approach and I'm sure would make use of Lastpass even better.

I'm a fan, so am sorry to say that the less you notice Lastpass at work the better it is. :?

Leave you to pick the bones out of that one! :D

Keep up good work.
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby JoeSiegrist » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:19 pm

DaveH Wrote:One of the best features of Lastpass is it's smooth and unobtrusive updating. Adding the less intrusive buttons would extend this unobtrusive approach and I'm sure would make use of Lastpass even better.

I'm a fan, so am sorry to say that the less you notice Lastpass at work the better it is. :?


We want our annoyance/usefulness quotient to approach zero so we're definitely thinking about ways to eliminate our notification bar (except for save site, and detected password changed). We'll see about a few buttons, or potentially putting them under the LastPass icon.

Joe
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby JulianL » Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:59 am

JoeSiegrist Wrote:
DaveH Wrote:One of the best features of Lastpass is it's smooth and unobtrusive updating. Adding the less intrusive buttons would extend this unobtrusive approach and I'm sure would make use of Lastpass even better.

I'm a fan, so am sorry to say that the less you notice Lastpass at work the better it is. :?


We want our annoyance/usefulness quotient to approach zero so we're definitely thinking about ways to eliminate our notification bar (except for save site, and detected password changed). We'll see about a few buttons, or potentially putting them under the LastPass icon.

Joe

Great to hear that this is being looked at but please think really hard about "potentially putting <the buttons> under the LastPass icon". In my view providing this as the only solution would miss the point because it is not the optimum user interface for multiple logons. If I have multiple GMail logins (for instance), then here is my ideal way to log in:

1) Click on a LastPass login button on the toolbar. This will drop down a menu immediately underneath it with a list of my logins.
2) Click on the login I require to log me in.

.... and that's it. Two mouse clicks and, once my mouse is over the toolbar button, one very simple mouse movement.

Now consider a scenario with buttons under the main LastPass button:

1) Click on the LastPass icon. This will drop down the main LastPass menu.
2) Click on the "Login" item in the menu. I assume this will probably now generate a fly-out menu to the side that contains a list of logins.
3) Move the mouse to the right (assuming the fly-out was on the right) and then maybe up or down a bit to get to the login desired on the fly-out menu and click it to log in.

.... the above is one extra mouse click and one extra mouse movement so definitely less optimal.

One reason I can see why you might be toying with the idea of putting the buttons under the current LastPass icon is so you don't end up having too many buttons on the toolbar. I have a couple of observations on this:

1) For the new buttons that I hope you'l add (i.e. Login and Fill) you could always give them a right-click menu that will pull up the existing LastPass menu that is currently accessed by the existing LastPass toolbar icon. That way, if a user chooses to drag one or both of the new buttons to the toolbar then he/she could remove the current toolbar icon since that menu would be accessible by right-clicking on one of the new buttons so the worst-case "button bloat" that you have created is to go from one to two buttons on the toolbar rather than from one to three.

2) Although I complained above about putting the buttons under the main LastPass icon as the _only_ solution to my (and others) feature request, I don't personally have a problem if you _also_ made login and fill functionality available on the main menu which, due to my comment immediately above, would also mean that it could be got at by right-clicking on one of the new toolbar icons. This way a viable setup could be to only have one LastPass button on the toolbar and that would probably be the login button (on the basis that logging in is a more frequent acrion than form filling). Now if I want to log in I just left-click the button but if I want to form fill then I can still right-click the toolbar button and get the main LastPass menu from which I can select the form filling function that probably then flies out a menu with my available identities.

Personally I have space on my toolbar and I think I would put up both the (hopefully soon to be implemented) login and fill buttons, but suggestion two above allows a user to keep the LastPass button count down to just a single button, to still have much nicer mouse access to the AutoLogin functionality, and to still have OK mouse accesss to form filling (certainly less invasive than the notification bar).

- Julian
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby Julian » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:21 pm

I just saw the change log for 1.42 and in particular item 3 "Preference for the notification bar to be on the bottom (Advanced), if the notification bar annoys you, you may want to check this out".

Is this likely to be as good as it gets in addressing my feature request because I believe that all you've done to is replace one annoying UI issue with another UI issue that is only slightly less annoying. The big issue with this latest solution is that, although it avoids the notification bar constantly scrolling the user's web pages, it now offers a far less efficient (in user interface terms) method of invoking a login by massively increasing the amount of mouse movement required.

If the user navigates to a web page via clicking on one of his/her icons in the Bookmarks Toolbar (which for me probably accounts for well over 50% of visits to sites for which I have autologin data) or from an item towards the top of the Bookmarks menu, or any other route that involves the mouse being towards the top of the screen, then to log in using the lower notification bar involves almost the biggest mouse movement possible, i.e. needing to sweep the mouse from almost the top of the screen to almost the bottom of the screen (assuming the browser window is pretty much full screen height). Then even worse it is likely that the mouse will need to come right back up towards the top of the screen since most web sites are optimised with key navigation links towards to top of the web page. From my experience most navigations to a site are initiated from the upper half of the window, either because it is a bookmarked site or just because good web site design tends to favour keeping important navigation links towards the top of a web page.

To try and demonstrate that this isn't a trivial problem I just went and measured with a tape measure the relative mouse movement required to log into my main GMail account and open my first unread email using either the Firefox SecureLogin extension or LastPass with the lower notification bar enabled. In both cases the initial visit to the GMail login page was by clicking on an entry in the Bookmarks Toolbar. The measurements are for a 20" widescreen monitor with a vertical screen height 10.75" (27cm) and with my Firefox program window sized to be a total height of 24.5cm which is just what it happened to be when I did the test so I could have made the figures even worse by stretching the window to occupy more of the available display height.

With the settings above the total mouse movement required to complete my test, i.e. from the point I clicked on the Gmail toolbar icon up to the point I clicked on the first unread email in my inbox, was 7.5cm total mouse movement using SecureLogin vs 51cm total mouse movement using LastPass. This is a big increase in mouse movement.

I really do think that you're compromising all your great work on the interesting comp sci aspects of this product by still having a pretty clunky user interface for the most often-used part of the entire product, i.e. invoking an autologin or autofill.

- Julian
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby JoeSiegrist » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:35 pm

Julian Wrote:Is this likely to be as good as it gets in addressing my feature request because I believe that all you've done to is replace one annoying UI issue with another UI issue that is only slightly less annoying. The big issue with this latest solution is that, although it avoids the notification bar constantly scrolling the user's web pages, it now offers a far less efficient (in user interface terms) method of invoking a login by massively increasing the amount of mouse movement required.


It's not as good as it'll get, but it was something that we thought we could do quickly without introducing issues and that it might help people who are currently annoyed by this. We know it's typically worse from a UI perspective, that's why it's not the default setting. We have to do everything for multiple browsers and platforms so UI changes are big changes, this happened to be a relatively straight forward workaround.

Our ultimate goal is the best experience and that likely means the notification bar will be replaced in the future.

We appreciate your passion on this, and recognize that what you're advocating is definitely in our best interest.

Joe
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby rodbv » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:51 pm

Hi there,

First of all, thanks for this app, I've been looking for something like this for a long time. No more juggling RoboForm on Windows and 1Password on the Mac!!

I joined this forum just to suggest an improvement regarding that scrolling notification on top, and then I saw that the new version shows it at the bottom and that is a great improvement in terms of annoyance-reduction.

I vote for the idea of a "1 click login" on the toolbar, so we can click on a bookmark, and go straight to the 1-click button to get the login done. RoboForms implements this very well, I guess it's not a crime to borrow their approach. If a site has more than 1 login registered, an arrowhead could be displayed on this button to indicate that there are more logins, and clicking and holding the mouse down could bring down a list, OTOH a single click would always execute the "default" login, set previously by the user (if none was set, I guess the oldest login could be always be the default).

But with the removal of scrolling on my page I would say you guys reduced the annoyance factor by 90% already, I don't mind that much moving the mouse longer :) Thanks for listening to the users so promptly.
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby JoeSiegrist » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:17 pm

rodbv Wrote:I vote for the idea of a "1 click login" on the toolbar, so we can click on a bookmark, and go straight to the 1-click button to get the login done. RoboForms implements this very well, I guess it's not a crime to borrow their approach. If a site has more than 1 login registered, an arrowhead could be displayed on this button to indicate that there are more logins, and clicking and holding the mouse down could bring down a list, OTOH a single click would always execute the "default" login, set previously by the user (if none was set, I guess the oldest login could be always be the default).


You can kind of do this via the 'Sites' menu, (if you're in non-compact mode, as many ex-roboform users are, it's quite usable). You can also consider setting 'autologin' setting for the accounts in question, then any way you end up on the site you'll autologin (bookmarks/browse directly, etc)

rodbv Wrote:But with the removal of scrolling on my page I would say you guys reduced the annoyance factor by 90% already, I don't mind that much moving the mouse longer :) Thanks for listening to the users so promptly.


Glad to hear it,

Joe
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Re: Alternative way to AutoLogin and/or Autofill

Postby Julian » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:00 pm

Thanks for the reply Joe. I fear I might have come over as aggressive with my "Is this likely to be as good as it gets" opening comment so sorry about that, I was just a bit worried, especially when I saw that 1.42 is now designated Release Cadidate 1 which made me think that maybe the window for new features was closing for a long time. Now that you've explained the thinking behind the lower notification bar I can see that it was really sensible to do that quick and easy option to at least give people the choice right now of taking the pain of bigger mouse movements in return for stopping the unwanted page scrolling and Rodbv's comment that "you guys reduced the annoyance factor by 90% already" is a pretty direct testament to the value of this change.

Re Rodbv's comments.

rodbv Wrote:I vote for the idea of a "1 click login" on the toolbar, so we can click on a bookmark, and go straight to the 1-click button to get the login done. RoboForms implements this very well, I guess it's not a crime to borrow their approach. If a site has more than 1 login registered, an arrowhead could be displayed on this button to indicate that there are more logins, and clicking and holding the mouse down could bring down a list, OTOH a single click would always execute the "default" login, set previously by the user (if none was set, I guess the oldest login could be always be the default).

I strongly share your "it's not a crime to borrow their approach" principle. A lot of good software engineering (well, probably engineering in general) is recognising best practice already developed elsewhere and just pulling lots of it together into a well integrated package. In this case though I personally, as a former licensed RoboForm user, would pick the SecureLogin extension for Firefox as the one having the nicest <1 click login button on the toolbar> implementation.

Regarding your (rodbv's) specific detailed suggestion for the button behaviour I can see why you suggest this because this is very close to how the RoboForm toolbar button works although it's not identical (at least not identical to the behaviour on the last version I used). The difference is that on RoboForm when a site has multiple logins then the way to select a login other than the default is that you have to "hover" the mouse over the button to get the drop-down selector rather than clicking and holding the mouse down as you suggest. I suspect that the hover operation will be a bit easier for the user vs a long click and has the additional benefit of being totally familiar to ex-RoboForm users BUT .....

It's that <hover to get multiple logins> behaviour that caused me to desert RoboForm in favour of SecureLogin. My problem with it is that it slows down logging on to a site where you have multiple logins and I have quite a lot of sites where I have at least 2 logins (business and personal). While I support Rodbv's suggestion (with the aforementioned hover rather than long click caveat) because I can see that it makes a lot of sense for RoboForm users, I would really ask you to make one aspect of the behaviour a selectable option so that the behaviour can be configured to work as follows.

1) If there is only one login then when the user clicks on the button do an immediate login (i.e. as rodbv's suggests).
2) If there is more than one login then implement behaviour depending on whether the <Default Login> option (DLO) is set.
3) If DLO is set then behave much like rodbv's suggestion, i.e. a click on the button logs in using the default login details and a hover over the button displays the login selection menu.
4) If DLO is not set then a click on the button (as opposed to a hover) will immediately cause the login selection menu to be displayed.
5) Click on the entry required from the login selection menu to initiate the required login.

The difference in behaviour between (3) and (4) is subtle but, from my personal experience, I believe it is significant enough to be worth offering both. The advantage of (3) is that the default login can be initiated by a single click on the button but the disadvantage, fixed by (4) is that logging into a non-default login is slower than it needs to be because there is that frustrating 0.5 or 1 second delay while you have to hover over the button to get the selector to come up (and a long mouse click would also incur the same delay of course) which is all the more frustrating if the user doesn't really have default logins for all these multi-login sites so would want to explicitly select which of their logins they want to use every time they do a login.

I hope the above makes some sense. Thanks again for such a great product. It's really a testament to how good it is that I'm so desperate for it to go that last 10% to become pretty much perfect.

- Julian
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