The iPhone home screen offers some interesting insights into the ideas we’ve been studying in the past week.
In this example, we are looking at the idea of the home screen itself, not necessarily its individual components. Here the sign is at first the home screen area itself. Yet this screen is also comprised of a number of other connected signs that are integral to the understanding of the home screen itself. These discrete signs include the home button, to access the screen, the navigational cues near the bottom of the home screen, the icons present within the home screen, the dock located at the bottom of the screen, and even to some extent the gestural interaction needed to access Notification Center. Each contributes collectively to the concept of the home screen.
The signifier can be said to be the home screen after navigation to it, but also the idea of the home screen contained within the phone itself. The signified in this case is the idea presented by the home screen that it is a launching point for any and all interactions the phone provides, as dictated by installed apps and software functionality. Even the term, “home,” infers a number of ideas about the screen itself. The idea presupposes a familiar place in which we collect all the useful things we use in our daily lives. This concept, along with the dock as a launching point for the most common applications in use, begin to look at the ideas of the indexical signification offered within the home screen.
Included in the indexical understanding would be the the idea that, after holding your finger down on an icon, the icons on the screen begin to shake and buttons appear at the top-left corner of each icon, suggesting an action is needed. As your finger swipes across the screen, the screen responds with “tension” when you attempt to swipe out of the boundaries of the home screen. The screen suggests an iconic representation of a drawer sliding open, a Lazy Susan, or a conveyor belt, serving up your apps.
We’ll explore a bit more of the concepts suggested by the phone in the comments.