— The 7BasicTypes Manifesto

7BasicTypes Manifesto


7BasicTypes is the name for a base typology around which all applications (apps, executables, etc.) and application output (files, digital experiences, etc.) can be classified.

The goal behind 7BasicTypes is to simplify and standardized application launching and file management across all device and personal computer platforms.

Design Goals

  • Standardized Interface - One simple starting point available on all devices and personal computers.

  • Efficient - All apps and application output equidistant from starting point (4 clicks or taps at most).

  • Comprehensive -  Provides access to all functionality available to the user with everything under one control.

  • Discoverability -  Easy to discover what operations one can do.

  • Non-Distracting - Allow users to declare their task before displaying options to eliminate detours and distractions that take users away from their original goals.

  • Unified - Organization of the input menu (application launching) matches the arrangement of the file system (user files).

  • Durable - The base typology (arrangement of input menu and user files on the file system) will not change with OS or hardware upgrades.

  • Scalable - Addition of applications or files does not make the system less efficient or less well-organized.

  • Mode Sensitive - Apps and files display more prominently if relevant to the mode the user is in or if related to the project the user is working on.


The basis of any computing system is input and output. A user inputs information in and gets output back. That output, and the applications that provide it, has never been definitively categorized into a widely accepted and all-inclusive fundamental typology.

7BasicTypes provides a comprehensive and durable base typology for files, applications, and application output.

The 7 Basic Types

The foundation of the 7BasicTypes system is the determination that all apps and application output falls into one of 7 basic type categories: Audio, Conversation, Data, Games, Imagery, Text, or System Configuration.

Here's a breakdown of the individual types:

For files that represent audio, or applications that create or play audio.
App examples: Any audio player.
File examples: Audiobooks, voice memos, podcasts, and music.

For files that represent a conversation, or applications that facilitate communication between people.
App examples: Phone, messaging, email, video conferencing, and social media apps. 
File examples: Emails, recordings of a video conference.

For files that represent data, or applications that return data or provides a means to create new data.
App examples: Spreadsheet program, apps that create reservations, clock, compass, calendar,  weather, and reminder apps.
File examples: Spreadsheets, log files, receipts. 

For files that represent or applications that provide a gaming experience.
App examples: First person simulators, card games, sports games.
File examples: Any file that records or provides access to a game.

For files that represent imagery, or applications that allow the viewing or creation of imagery.
App examples: Photo editors, graphics programs, map applications, video editors.
File examples: Photos, graphics, movies.

For files that represent text, or applications that allow the viewing or creation of a narrative.
App examples: Ebook apps, web browsers, word processors.
File examples: Plain text, rich text, ebooks.

System Config
For files that represent, or applications that allow customization, configuration or expansion of the system.
App examples: App stores, music stores, control panels, preferences.
File examples: Installer files, archived files, preference files.


  • Published guidelines - Instructions on how to arrange an existing interface or file system according to 7BasicTypes principles. 

Feb2017: ☑︎iOS

Late2017: ☐Android  ☐Windows  ☐macOS  ☐Linux


  • Software - Technology that incorporates the 7BasicTypes principles and design goals stated above.

Mar2017: ☑︎macOS  (beta software incorporating many but not all of the design goals mentioned above)

Late2017: ☐iOS  ☐Android  ☐Windows  ☐Linux