Back in March I wrote a post about how I had discovered the source my discomfort with two-fingered scrolling on my MacBook. Basically, two-fingered scrolling goes in the opposite direction to what I experience when scrolling on my iPhone. In the end, I figured I could get used to it and make it work for me. I finished that post, though, by asking “how many more of these collisions will appear as Apple continues to build on its gestural UI?”
A new collision appeared this week, as Apple released a software update that adds three-finger dragging to the trackpad. That is, moving three fingers across the track pad will drag whatever is under the cursor (assuming that it’s draggable). The behaviour feels great when moving windows around, though moving icons around on the desktop feels slightly odd to me still. The collision, though, relates to my previous post.
With two-fingered scrolling, moving my fingers towards me on the trackpad moves the scrolling page upwards within the screen — my fingers are, in effect, interacting with the scrolling control rather than the page content itself.
With three-fingered scrolling, moving my fingers towards me on the trackpad moves the window (if it’s a window I’m dragging) downwards within the screen — the opposite direction to what happens with two-fingered scrolling. My fingers are interacting directly with the object that I’m moving.
I haven’t yet spent enough time with the change to know how this behaviour will feel for me in the longer term. My guess though is that I’ll find it more disconcerting than the contrast between trackpad and iPhone that I previously wrote about. And I do suspect that there are more collisions to come.