iPad intuitiveness is the source of eternal debate. One might ask: If the iPad is more intuitive than the Mac, why is it more difficult to use overall? Good question. Well, Gruber offers an interesting view on this subject.
Source of constant debate
Again, my criticism about iPadOS has little to do with intuitiveness. If anything, what the iPad gets right is clearly more intuitive than the Mac — direct manipulation with touch vs. indirect manipulation via mouse pointer is clearly far more intuitive and natural. That’s what makes the state of iPadOS so crushingly disappointing — it has an inherent leg up on MacOS on intuitiveness by nature of its conceptual foundation. The problems with the iPad are about consistency, coherence, and discoverability. Launching the first on-screen app with a simple tap, but the second on-screen app with a tap-and-hold-then-drag-to-the-side-but-make-sure-you-drag-it-all-the-way-to-the-side-or-else-you’ll-get-Slide-Over is inconsistent, incoherent, and requires unnecessary dexterous precision. iPadOS should be less finicky than MacOS, but all of the multitasking features are the other way around.John Gruber
This linked article is a follow up on Matt Birchler’s blog post on iPad intuitiveness where he states:
I’m just saying that humans have a tendency to mistake familiarity for intuitiveness.
So, again, is the iPad intuitive or not? Like many things in technology, it depends on whom you are asking that question. For me, on the surface (no pun intended), the iPad does look intuitive and is intuitive. But as you start to ask more from this device, this is where it gets complicated and iPad intuitiveness starts to be a source of debate. The lack of discoverability, as I wrote in my post “My 10 Years of iPad” is one of the main issues affecting the iPad intuitiveness. Why? Because Apple is using a lot of hidden gestures to make it look intuitive and approachable.
Sometimes, I do feel the iPad doesn’t fulfill its initial promise. Is this Apple’s fault? You bet. Even after ten years of iPad, this platform is still in search of its balance: being as powerful as a traditional computer yet being simpler. That is not an easy balance to achieve.