I’ve read various threads on the inadequacies of categorization, and found Monzo’s responses to be a little frustrating, especially comments like “you can use emoji”. I’m a grown-up!
But, wait! Maybe emoji do have the potential to be a useful tool for categorizing transactions. They are rich in what they represent. Their graphical nature means that they allow a UI to easily present a large number to choose between. I’ve maybe been a little harsh in dismissing them as a toy.
So, I decided to have a play (on Android). I started by trying to classify a bunch of historical transactions. 7 taps per transaction was enough to get a teeny-weeny little emoji that I could barely see in the transaction list alongside the nice clear icon for the vendor.
So what can I do now? I can search for transactions with an emoji . I can’t summarize the total spent I can’t view a list of each emoji with total spent I can’t set targets for transactions tracked against each emoji
I’m wondering what the app would be like if emoji were used as a parallel form of categorization; each transaction gets a high level category, plus as many emoji as the user wants (in my case, exactly one). You could set targets by emoji, as well as by category. The app would learn your normal classifications and set them up in new transactions. Updating the emoji in existing transactions would be no harder than for updating the category, ideally using an custom UI rather than dropping through to the phone’s keyboard. Ideally, add a “review recent transactions” facility that allows you to step through each unreviewed transaction and make changes without needing to return to the list between each one.
In summary - maybe using emoji as subcategories would be a viable option with a bit more app integration. They’d have the advantage that you could still do analysis on how people categorised against emoji, especially if users were pushed towards using an initial palette that covered most of the popular bases (ie health, coffee, snacks, dining out, drinks, etc). And even grown-ups might be persuaded that they look cool