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My goal was to get rid of app icons and folders from my homescreens and make them simply places to display information
Is it time for a reinvention of the phone touch interface? Is it time for the homescreen to be for information rather than app and folder icons?
Grids of icons with a dock have been around forever, going back to desktop computers. It has stuck around, with minor modifications (eg. folders) because it works, but it's not particularly attractive and I don't know that it's actually the most efficient way to do things on a touch interface. Voice has started to change the way we do things already, but it's still not really ideal to talk 'to' your phone/mobile device at home or in public.
*All* phone OSs still use the same basic design. It's kind of stale, and what keeps me from switching to another OS. I was excited to see what BB10 would look like, but it's a variation on the same theme, just with their own gestures and obligatory social hub stuff added to the mix. RIM had a chance to do what Apple claims to do every year and actually change everything...but they opted not to do so.
I admire what Microsoft did with WP8, tying together the desktop, tablet and phone. Interface-wise, though, tiles (live or not) are still just icons and widgets. One of Android's selling points is the ability to add widgets to make your homescreen(s) a bit more interesting/attractive/useful, but overall it's still essentially the same experience whether it's JellyBean or ICS. You still have a dock full of icons and widgets, still probably put a bunch of icons on your homescreens, and still have a notification bar.
I decided to experiment with my phone a bit. My goal was for the home pages to be free of icons, and only serve as displays of information. I wanted to remove the status bar and dock as foci and let the experience centre around the content (eg family photos) & information on my homescreens.
WidgetLocker; swipe up = google now, left = camera, right = unlock; weather displayed via HD Widgets; email, messages, phone calls, agenda displayed via Executive assistant
Nova Launcher + Wave Launcher
Hide notification bar, hide dock
Home Page contents:
Widgets only (clock & weather, agenda, reader/rss, evernote, tasks, family photos, etc; NO APPS)
There are no apps or folders on any of the homescreens. As stated above, I decided that I wanted the homescreens to be solely for displaying information. I don't want to look at my app icons, or even folders containing my app icons. I've been doing that for years.
Access to apps is two-fold:
A. Gestures for most frequently-used apps
-1 finger swipe down = notifications
-1 finger swipe up = AquaMail
-2 finger swipe down = Calendar
-2 finger swipe up = browser; stock browser has bezel gestures enabled (swipe in from edges to get page controls)
-double-tap = Google Now
-two finger ccw swipe = Android settings
-two finger clockwise swipe = Nova Launcher settings
B. Wave Launcher for all other apps
-accessible at all times, even when in another program
-set up to bring up the 'wave' of launchable apps when I swipe in from the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Includes individual apps as well as folders; long-press in that area brings up the app drawer.
It's an interesting experiment. I'm still getting used to the setup. Much of it is the same as before (eg. gestures). Some, though, like accessing apps exclusively through Wave Launcher, is a big change. I enjoy no longer having the notification bar and the applicatino dock dominating top and bottom of the screen, respectively.
-- I used to have this displaying the time, battery percentage, signal strength, bluetooth and wifi activity. All of these things are available via widgets or don't need to be continually visible or frequently accessed. I know LTE, bluetooth and wifi are on. They're always on. I have a clock on my homescreen. I don't need to see the notification bar to know if I have new email, missed calls or new messages -- I have Executive Assistant on my homescreen and lockscreen showing me that.
-- It was a bunch of icons, either individual or folderized. It looked unattractive and just cluttered the homescreen. I can still access all of the programs that were in my dock, now via Wave Launcher. In addition, I don't have to be on a homescreen to do so. Wave Launcher is accessible at all times, even when I have an app open, just by touching the bezel hotspot that is set up for it. I think that's better, more efficient as far as multitasking is concerned. Wave Launcher can display your recent apps as well, but since JellyBean has that functionality already, I didn't bother.
Here are some photos of my setup.
Lock Screen (Slider Inactive then Activated)
Main Home Screen, Then With WaveLauncher Activated, Then Folders
WaveLauncher Activated While an App is Running
Speed Dial Screen
Notification Drop-Down Still Available if Needed