Home Screen

Homescreens are surprisingly important. On iOS, and possibly even more so on Android where customisation possibilities are greater, a person's home screen is comparable to the interior decoration of their home. It's tweaked, and dwelled upon generally for far too long, and there are more trends, quirks and opinions than anyone could ever want.

Those people close enough to know of my homescreen habits know that I too am a little neurotic when it comes to exactly what appears, how and where. When I got an iPhone 5, and one more row of icons, I spent literally weeks deciding what would fill those four new spaces. I can only imagine the lofty heights of indecision I could achieve with widgets and switches.

This isn't a phenomenon unique to smartphones and tablets, but it is more acute. We've all spent time finding the perfect desktop wallpaper (OK my two month search may have been more extreme than most) and we tinker with the icons on our computer desktops (or ritually annihilate all traces of anything that might disturb the pristine beauty of the undisturbed and un-utilised workspace - guilty!) but there most things have their pre-determined place. In windows all your applications install their shortcuts neatly into the start menu. On a Mac they hide away on Launchpad, sit neatly in the dock or you search for them in Spotlight. The only icons you tend to push around are files that you're working with.

Mobile OS' are different... there's no desktop, the immediate interface is a group of apps that require organisation for the comfortable operation of the device. Perhaps this is why we can become so obsessive about it. We even dedicate entire websites to the voyeurism of other people's layouts. I've seen icons arranged by colour, by utility, in unusual patterns designed to facilitate access according to frequency of use. You name it, someone out there has a homescreen to suit your quirks.

Your phone homescreen though is somehow more personal than your Mac, PC or Laptop desktop. It's intimate, always with you and increasingly a primary tool for social interaction. From phone calls to facebook to the sexting phenomenon (gasp!) - it's become central to the way that we conduct our interpersonal and professional lives. It's little wonder then that we can get a little bit fixated on it.

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