Huffman Encoding of Phone Contacts

Every mobile phone I've ever used or heard of sorts their contact lists in alphabetical order based on name.

In 2007, you'd be hard pressed to walk into a mobile store and find even a single phone that wouldn't let you can tag your contacts with metadata such as photos to display when that person calls, birthdays so you can be reminded to call, and the type of relationship you have with the contact (work, friend, family, etc). But it's impossible to sort your contacts by these values. You might one day decide to call all your friends in a particular area invite them to crash an embassy event with you, but you can't bear to wade through everyone else to get to them, and instead spend the night at home reading reddit.

I think the most useful of these sortings, though, would be the call counter. I'm but a sample size of one, but there are essentially two or three people I might call or SMS at least every other day, fifteen or so who I might call once a month, and then a bunch of people I never call. But unfortunately my close friends and associates do not have alphabetically sequential names. Sorting so the person you call the most is the top and the person you call the least is at the bottom will probably make it much faster to call, on average, the person you want. It's basically a Huffman encoding, except the optimization is for navigation time instead of bitlength.

The exact syntax for invoking a particular sort would depend greatly on the phone's interface. On my Nokia, the left/right buttons don't seem to do anything while you are in the contact list, and could be used to iterate through the available (and enabled) sortings.

Update: A few weeks after writing this, I found that Norbert Wiener beat me to this idea by about 40 years. Quoting "The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society":

The number of people with whom I actually wish to talk over the
telephone is limited, and in a large measure is the same limited group
day after day and week after week. I use most of the telephone
equipment available to me to communicate with members of this
group. Now, as the present technique of switching generally goes, the
process of reaching one of the people whom we call up four or five
times a day is in no way different from the process of reaching those
people with whom we may never have a conversation. From the standpoint
of balanced service, we are using either too little equipment to
handle the frequient calls or too much to handle the infrequent