Let's face it. While icons are pretty, know no language barriers, and are easily recognizable once you're familiar with them-- they're limited in the amount of information they can convey. E.g., you have five Microsoft Word documents on your desktop and you used anything resembling a decent description in naming them --the icons are exactly the same and only part of the file name is visible. Until you click on them, you can't know which is which. If you'd like a more word-oriented, quicker-to-recognize view of your documents, folders, and programs you need Easy Desktop 9.0 ($30, 15-day free trial).
Easy Desktop is a launch application on steroids. It forgoes icons in favor of launch buttons with the full name of the program, file, or folder you want to launch. Easy Desktop 9.0 exists as a single window with 72 launch buttons for each of 9 pages.
To define a launch button, simply drag the file, folder, or application icon from the Desktop or Star Menu to the launch button you wish to launch it from. You can edit the launch name, as well as various startup parameters such as whether the program runs normally, full-screen or minimized. You may also arrange the launch buttons as you wish. For instance, all programs in one column or on one page, all documents on another, etc.
Beyond launch buttons, Easy Desktop 9.0 provides access to virtually everything in the Windows Control Panel (Network Connections, Display Settings, etc.) and Windows Explorer (drives, my documents, etc.) via a toolbar at the top of the main window. You may also reboot or shut down Windows from the toolbar. The main window stretches and the size of the text on the launch buttons changes to accommodate. You won't want to make the Window too small.
As good as Easy Desktop 9.0 is, it would win more fans with a sexier interface. You can tweak some of the colors and the window background, but that's about it. I can imagine it as a lot more. Perhaps the company could make it skinnable which might make it a little less efficient, but broaden its appeal. That's a suggestion, not a gripe.
I wasn't expecting to like Easy Desktop as much as I did. However, being able to see the complete names of shortcuts instead of the small text on the Windows Desktop was addictive. You might also like it more than you think. Give it a shot.