Perhaps some of my confusion is that I was assuming my trackpad was ‘mirroring’ the iPad screen
It doesn’t work that way, very few people have the trackpad put to such a sensitivity that it mirrors the screen. Look closely and you’ll notice that going from one end of the screen to another often requires lifting the finger, and doing a second move (or even three) with your finger to continue moving the pointer to where you want to go. Also, if you lift your finger and place it in the top left corner of the trackpad the arrow won’t move, it’s not like on the iPad that suddenly the mouse pointer jumps to the top left of the screen. They are very different input devices.
You actually nicely outline the problem here:
This is an issue for me because I use a 13” MacBook, no other monitor, and I frequently want to switch between focusing just on my current note, with as much text as possible visible, and then opening one or other or both sidebars to navigate and view the calendar. So a quick “swipe left” and “swipe right” without moving the cursor, would make life easier.
Yes, so which one? I swipe left, what should it do? Open the right inspector or close the left sidebar? Closing both wouldn’t make sense either as for one of the two it wouldn’t mean a very counterintuitive interaction (swipe left to close the right sidebar for example).
We then only have two options:
- either base the context on where the mouse pointer is, which is what we have done. i.e. if your cursor is close to the right edge of the screen, and swipe left, it’s more likely you want to open the inspector, than that you want to close the project sidebar. This resembles what we do on iPad where the action upon swiping depends on where you do the swipe on screen, which makes most sense of course.
- have a fixed order of things where in this case we give preference to opening over closing (swipe left first always opens the inspector, a second swipe left then closes the sidebar. swipe right first opens the sidebar, a second swipe closes the inspector).
Ironically because on iPad the mouse cursor doesn’t allow us to get the current position on screen, it is impossible to replicate the finger and mouse-location dependent behaviour of the Mac, and can only do this “fixed order” approach when you use a trackpad with your iPad.
Of course the biggest downside of this approach is that you can’t close both sidebars using swipes (again because it’s impossible to correctly guess whether your intention is to close left or open right (or vice versa).
At this stage, I believe the current behaviour (letting the action depend on cursor position) is the best choice.