When looking for a name in the Contacts (Phone) list. You can go to the top of the list and Search, you can sweep your finger up/down the screen to scroll, or you can tap a letter on the right to jump to that letter group of names.
I must have too big of fingers, when I try and tap a letter on the right I never get the right one. But, a tip you can use is tap and hold on the letter area, then sweep your finger up/down. You will move through the names a letter area at a time.