Context Sensitive home screens really starting to deliver

Posted on February 4, 2014


  I read this on the Verge and I though about how for the last 10 years the mobile phone UX people have been trying to solve this conundrum.
So it would seem that the world is waking up to the fact that the home screen on a phone does not need to be static.I’ll not get started on the pros and cons of iOS and Android regarding the ability to customize your home screen.

However context for me is key,  users are more than a single life mode,  sometimes for example he may be Bob the plumber, then Bob the football player and Bob the family man, or Mary the teacher, church goer and activist,  you get my drift.
These kinds of switch from work, play and rest (sorry Mars) are for most people quite regular and having a phone that recognizes this and has the ability to present apps that you tend to use most in the life modes.

Problem 1: Although this auto-context layout manipulation seems sensible enough,  however it is quite disconcerting when your phone keeps changing its layout, and you get lost at first,  and so folks simply go back to the normal static home screen.

However a new idea seems to be hitting the street,  that of a dynamic folder or tray,  that holds the apps the device thinks you’ll want to have based on the time of day, location, and your previous usage history.  Now all those changes are curtailed to a single place.  Neat.

The second, and dare I say it bigger problem that plagues these folks (because many, many new home screen apps have come and gone,  even back in the Symbian days) and that is getting people to use them.  For a “normal” mobile phone user it is a brave thing to do,  to replace your phone’s main interface with some new thing. Most of us are too insecure about out phones to risk it.
Given how reliant so many of us are on our phones.  So I guess this kind of innovation will only arrive when the Samsung, HTCs or dare I say it Apples of this world decide to incorporate it.

So in summary has solved the first problem, and will solve the second if they get acquired, now there’s a familiar story for mobile orientated start ups.

Posted in: Apps, mobile