A homescreen experiment

Inspired by this post by Manuel Moreale, I’ve been experimenting with a new kind of homescreen. One that is less stimulating and make me more conscious of what I really want to do when I unlock my phone.

Homescreen

That’s very… empty, yes. And you might wonder: why would you do that?

Well, have you ever caught yourself picking up the phone without any real purpose, looking for a notification or app icon to tap when you feel bored? I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of that.

Which reminds me, whenever I was bored as a kid, I’d either go outside and play with my friends or just, you know, be bored. Being bored is good for the brain and smartphones are taking away from us this fundamental human condition.

So the way I found to have my boredom back, is to get everything out of my homescreen (or at least most of it).

App icons on iOS are designed to act as mere shortcuts, and as such, they’re “dumb”, static and don’t show me any relevant information. So the question is, what else the OS can offer me?

Today View

Today View

Sometimes I wish the Today View was my actual homescreen, I see a lot of wasted opportunity in this—somewhat neglected—feature. It has everything essential I need to know right now: my next appointment, the weather, favorite contacts, and workflow triggers.

I have the intention to add a few more “widgets”, but so far so good. And for everything else I have Spotlight, which I can simply pull-down and start typing.

Spotlight

Spotlight

With Spotlight I can launch apps, pick a password, find documents, search for email contents, and even do math operations. I use it all the time on my Mac, so why not just do the same on the iPhone?

Spotlight is likely one of the most underrated features in iOS, and yet a very powerful one. I suspect many would be surprised how useful it can be for anything you need within your device.

And that’s a wrap

I can’t tell if this experiment will stick, but if anything, when I unlock my phone now it no longer says “tap me”, but rather “what are you here for?”.

Marcelo Marfil Human. Designer at Sketch.