With Ubuntu the default install partitions are / (root) and swap. All the system is in folders in root. And that is all you need for a desktop install.
In the old days or on some servers to isolate activity some or many of the system folders may be installed to separate partitions. Old systems or servers or some with different formats may need a separate /boot partition.
But if you want to easily reinstall / (root) for a new version separating /home makes that easier. You still should backup /home as it has all your data & user settings, but you can reinstall to / reformat it, but not reformatting /home to preserve data & settings.
Since /home is Linux, it cannot be NTFS, so you cannot use it for sharing data.
You need a separate NTFS formatted data partition.
Swap is used as overflow for RAM or if you launch so many apps at once that all of RAM is used. But Linux caches activity so RAM is often full, but it releases unused apps space for a new active app. Only if all spce is used for active apps then you may need swap.
Explanation of file structure - these are normally folders but can be partitions
My sdc2 is NTFS from when I still used XP, my sdc6 is ext3, but I would use ext4 if creating it now. And I just have / on my SSD in sdd3. I have another install in sdd4. I am up to 18 partitions in sdc, many obsolete or test installs.
fred@fred-Precise:~$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdd3 28G 10G 17G 39% /
udev 2.0G 12K 2.0G 1% /dev
tmpfs 791M 1.1M 790M 1% /run
none 5.0M 0 5.0M 0% /run/lock
none 2.0G 140K 2.0G 1% /run/shm
/dev/sdc2 100G 34G 67G 34% /mnt/shared
/dev/sdc6 97G 49G 43G 54% /mnt/data
/dev/sdd4 28G 4.8G 22G 19% /media/Quantal