Design Rationale Behind iPadOS Pointer Focused on Ergonomics, Adaptability

A new video from Apple explains the design rationale behind the trackpad and the iPadOS pointer.

As Apple explains, the video touches on a number of design-centric aspects of the iPadOS pointer, as well as some of its uses and benefits:

Bring the power of the pointer to your iPad app: We’ll show you how Apple’s design team approached designing the iPadOS pointer to complement touch input, and how you can customize and refine pointer interactions in your app to make workflows more efficient and gratifying. Discover how the pointer’s adaptive precision enables people to quickly and confidently target interface elements regardless of their size. We’ll also share some best practices on adapting the pointer to complement your app’s unique needs including how to select pointer effects and design pointer shapes, integrate trackpad gestures, and keyboard modifiers.

The video first touches on ergonomics, and how Apple worked to create an adaptable system that works for each user.

“Adding trackpad capability allows people to have a more comfortable experience, where they can leave their hands on the same plane as the keyboard, [without] having to frequently reach up to touch the screen.”

The video also explains the design principles behind the trackpad, noting that it’s much more precise than fingers touching a screen. Apple also designed the trackpad to make editing text easier, allowing for finer maniuplation.

Another thing the video touches on is intertia, and how the trackpad is designed to naturally move the same way as the trackpad on Mac. Movement intertia, in this case, causes the pointer to move faster if the trackpad is flicked faster.

“We’ve learned about adaptive precision, how to customize the pointer and its effects, and how to make use of pointer interactions and gestures,” explains the video.

“These small pieces combine to form a whole, powerful, functional system that allows you to build highly responsive, understandable interfaces, combining unprecedented precision with ease of use.”

The mini-doc is a very interesting look into iPadOS, and is well worth 45 minutes of your day. Check out the full video here.

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