I have figured out how to customize the Home Screen to fit my needs. The N8 provides a lot of flexibility. The Home Screen consists of 6 separate bars and can support up to three different Home Screens. You can move from one Home Screen to another by swiping across the screen or by touching the dots at the bottom center of the screen. Each of these bars can be loaded with a Widget, which is a special class of application. One of the Widgets is the Shortcuts Widget that contain the icons for four different applications.
After some experimentation I set up two Home Screens. All Home Screen have a standard bar at the top that cannot be changed that includes the carrier information including name, data service, and signal bars on the left and a battery indicator and network connectivity indicators on the right. The Pimary Home Screen includes the time, date, and the selected profile in the first bar. This bar cannot be changed on the Primary Home Screen.
I then have two shortcut bars, which is how the phone is delivered. I have the Phone Log, Contacts, Navigation, Web Browsing applications in the first bar and Sports Tracker, AccuWeather, Photos, and Messages applications in the second bar. These two bars are then followed by the Calendar widget, which shows the next Calendar entry, the Email widget which shows the emails in the inbox for my primary email account, and the Notification widget, which shows missed events, calls, or messages.
My second Home Screen has two Shortcut widgets at the top. The first includes the Dictionary, FM radio, FM transmitter, and the Panorama applications. The second includes the Calculator, the Notes, the Phone Setup, and the Settings applications. These are followed by four widgets. The Music Player which shows what is currently (or last) playing, The Bloomberg widget which shows article titles or index performance, RTL info which profides French language news of Belgium, and a search Widget for Google and phone searches.
I really like this approach. I will change this organization replacing applications and widgets over time. I will probably add the third screen. This ability to create and modify Home Screens brings the functions of the phone up to the top level and minimizes the requirement to go down into multilevel folder hierarchies to find applications.