Color me a little old school but I still launch apps and find files on my Mac the old fashioned way. I use a launcher (specifically, DragThing).
Yes, it’s point and click, but I’m not into remembering keyboard shortcuts to do my bidding so I rely on an app that launches and navigates, and I’ve been using it since the last century, pre-OS X. If I were forced to use something different than DragThing it’s likely I’d go with Overflow.
It’s instantly familiar, and easy to setup to launch apps, open files, or navigate through folders.
Overlow isn’t nearly as configurable as DragThing, but maybe that’s a good thing. Bring Overflow to the Mac’s screen with a keyboard shortcut.
Organize apps by category and tabs between those most frequently used. Otherwise, just click on an app’s icon and it launches.
Overflow is more flexible than using the Mac’s Dock, but just as easy. Configuration and setup is nominal but includes an autostart option, hotkey (which snaps the menu to the location of the Mac’s screen pointer).
Simple sliders are used to change the app icon size, font size, and horizontal or vertical spacing.
What I like about Overflow is that settings are nominal but adjustable depending upon how many apps and files you have and need visible, and that the floating palette pops right to the Mac’s pointer from a hotkey combo.
This is an elegant way to launch apps and files, and navigate your Mac without using the Dock or the Finder. And, it’s so Apple-like you’d almost expect Apple to include something similar in OS X 10.9 Lynx (I’m looking ahead).