"The UI on phones and tablets aren't designed to help us find one app among dozens"
I agreed with that. So the first app I made was AppGrouper for Windows Mobile, back then. It's a single icon on your homescreen which launches a panel with categories of your favourite apps. You can swipe between your categories (favs, communications, graphics, whatever you want to call them) and launch the app. You make your own categories and add your own selection of apps to them. It makes for very easy and quick launching of your most used apps.
It's also the first app I made for Android (look for AppGrouper by LifeBoatSoft on Google Play), and by far the most used app on my phone.
There's even a free, old version which you can find on the forums of XDA-Developers.