Homescreen Rhetoric

How to arrange your iPad apps by the rules of Rhetoric

At first, my iPad Homescreen apps arrangement might seem very random, except for some color coordinated features. Fun thing about iPad Homescreen is that users can arrange their apps in any possible way they prefer, as long as it makes sense for them. A perfect reason to toy with them!

While entire app icon design, color or symbols could be a good topic for semiotic analysis, i will examine how is it possible to arrange iPad app icons by following some of the most famous rules within the art of Rhetoric. Ever since Ancient Greek times, Rhetoric has been defined considering specific aims which different people considered important. Logos, ethos and pathos are the three most impostant components of rhetorical speech. Each of them had it’s own specific advantages during periods of times or some other political, religious or other social aspects of public life. For instance, we know that Plato wasn’t very fond of pathos, that Aristotle gave advantage to logos, and that Cicero and later Renaissance thinkers prefered ethos as the most important component.

Altough definition and the importance of it’s components may vary during different times and theories, Rhetoric has it’s unchangeable parts, better known to us as canons of Rhetoric. There are five of them and every good rhetorical speech needs to incorporate them. Five canons were defined in Ancient times but now we shall see how we still use them in our daily lives and how can they fit into your Homescreen arrangement.

First, we can introduce the top of our Homescreen, where we have apps connected with Inventio. This is rhetorical canon which deals with discovery (of arguments, topics, structures, etc) which is an art of finding the best aims by which we can win our opponent. In Ancient times there were two important elements – topoi which represented general places as sources of information, and stasis as a question asking skill which explains main problems. Here I put apps which we use to find most important things on the Internet, like Google app – an app which everyone uses daily to find any kind of information they need; App Store as essential app to finding other apps; News directory which contains several news agencies apps; Browser app and finaly iTunes U app for finding most important educational tools for learning. This is our modern days way of finding and research – whether we are looking for general places, solving problems, new questions, and answering the old ones.

Secondly, we deal with Dispositio. This canon of Rhetoric we can translate as organisation, and in Ancient Rhetoric theory it defines how to best organize questions, arguments or topics within our speech. It states that each speech should have an introduction, presentation of statements, presentation of arguments, refutation of opponent’s arguments and a conclusion at the end. This is where we have our organisational apps, those which help us organize our photos, documents, travels, education, and other apps as well. This is why i put there cloud app (such as Dropbox) for uploading all files in a safe place; Maps app which helps me organize my travels – it helps me as a visual kind of person to find my way in any unknown environment; further, there are apps used as Productivity, which include presentation making apps, e mails, reminders and memos; and Education apps for organising work schedules and other documents for my students; and finally there is Settings app which helps organize all technical things on your device.

In the middle, we have our third canon, better known as Elocutio. We can translate it as to speak, and in Rhetorics we refer it to as art of stylistic and eloquent speaking. Speaking style in Ancient times had to be appropriate to the type of audience, event and to the topic, so the style could be simple, intermediate or sublime. Similar kinds of expression we find today in presented apps – we use Skype and Facetime apps to communicate with different people all around the world. We can use those apps for communicating with our family, friends or business associates. Creative Center is a group of apps I use to create new media projects – articles, presentations, music, drawings, etc. Games Center is just another way in which we express ourselves – I know that some older generations may not understand that, but those of us who grew up playing video games will be able to understand this notion. At the end, there is Music app, an app which sets the mood and holds all your secrets, helping you express the feelings, which are important part of our lives in an age of science and technology.

Fourth canon we shall examine here is Memoria. Simply translated as memory, this canon was very important for Ancient speakers since it was an art of remembering the speech by heart, remembering main issues, arguments and information which could help win speech battle against your opponent. It is obvious which apps we find connected with this canon. Photos app saves many of our memories and Camera app is what makes those memories. Notes app helps us write down all our thoughts, while Calendar app is there to remind us of the time. Finaly, iBooks app is where I keep many important information, which i need both for my work and for the simple pleasures of daily life.

As for the final canon, we have Actio ahead. Fifth canon of Rhetoric is also simply translated as action and it is a final product of all previous four canons. Action is mere execution of speech, a performance of pronouncing a speech. It is when the action happens – just as when it comes to our apps – mail app and social networks apps are the apps I use the most. I am not sure whether or not this is a good thing, but it is the truth. Most of my work related, family related, friends related interactions occur within these apps and i use them many times during the day, as opposed to some apps which are travel related or music related. This is also the reason why i keep Actio canon apps at the bottom, where they are most accesible to my fingers and easier to reach.

I am not sure whether or not this app arrangement benefits me in any way other than that by which i have a good reason to put my apps in certain way and group them. Perhaps it is only a good visual aid for people who give importance to visual disposition. Lately I came across some writings on visual rhetoric and find it interesting that a discipline which has so far been connect only with speech can suddenly mix it’s way into the field of visual. At the end, when you look at it in a deeper way, both auditory and visual concepts here have a relation with logical process of thinking. Rhetoric has been described as an art of persuading others using speech as it’s main tool. Maybe now is a good time to consider new approaches within the field of visual and logical thinking.

About the author

Zoran Kojcic (1986), holds MA degrees in Philosophy and Croatian Philology from University of Osijek, Croatia. He is certified Philosophical Counsellor and President of Croatian Society for Philosophical Practice, and a member of Petit Philosophy Association. Zoran teaches Literature and Ethnology at High School Dalj and also works as coordinator on several philosophical projects such as Philosophy Summer School, Philosophy with Elders, Art of Democracy, etc. He participated in several international conferences and published papers on philosophy of education and philosophical practice.


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