I use and rely on Shortcuts app for many of my iPad workflows. The most complex of them that I’ve created are for publishing to my Hugo-powered blog, and for publishing episodes of the various BubbleSort podcasts.
One issue with Shortcuts that I’d love for Apple to address, which they almost certainly won’t, is the ease with which they become too complex to manage or restructure.
Case in point is my Blog Post Publish shortcut, which I wrote in such a way that I could use it for multiple websites. This necessarily leads to multiple menus and multiple nested If statements, since Shortcuts doesn’t support the “else if” construct.
Instead, the next if clause gets forced under an Otherwise statement, so that if written in code, it would like something like this:
If (blog == “ …
I don’t remember Gruber making the “iPads aren’t as intuitive as Macs” claim as part of his public confusion about how the iPad works, but I’m sure some people have. And, as Matt Birchler says in his excellent skewering of the “iPads are too damn complicated!” narrative, that’s ludicrous.
I think Matt’s onto something with the explanation that a case of familiarity and unfamiliarity is really the issue here, not the iPad itself. I’d say the real issue with the people I’ve seen on Twitter claiming no one can decipher the iPad’s mysteries is the inverse – unfamiliarity mistaken for counter-intuitiveness.
As I said yesterday, the iPadOS multitasking UI does have issues. I’m not debating that at all. What I am debating is that it’s so complicated as to be unreasonable, and whether every possible iPadOS feature needs to leap directly into the user’s brain the first time they pick up an iPad, or whether it’s ok that some learning is involved.
Also, the clunkiness of the …
There are good arguments to be made that Apple hasn’t always helped the iPad live up to its promise. Certainly John Gruber thinks so, as evidenced by both the title and body of his recent post, The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10.
My issue with what he wrote is not his claim that iPad multitasking is fiddly and unintuitive and a bit incoherent and inconsistent. It is. And it’s not his assertion that iPad multitasking is non-discoverable:
How would anyone ever figure out how to split-screen multitask on the iPad if they didn’t already know how to do it?
I can’t really disagree with that. It’s just that I don’t know how much that does or should matter.
Not everything in technology can be intuitive. Sometimes things have to be learned. And some of the people complaining about the fact that all iPadOS features don’t present themselves as fully-formed concepts directly into the user’s brain upon iPad unlock are people who created Markdown, or who are iOS programmers, or who use Photoshop, or who have elaborate writing workflows.
None of those …
This might fall into the frivolous category for a lot of people, but I make a lot of home screen icons for shortcuts I use frequently, so I enjoy the MacStories Shortcuts Icons tremendously.
I’ll even admit to going a little nutty and replacing several of my app icons on my iPhone home screen with them, using them as app launchers rather than icons for shortcuts, but that’s another story. I wouldn’t recommend that for most people, as it makes opening an app into a bounce-through-shortcuts experience.
Still, it’s fun to experiment with alternate looks that Apple won’t give us.
But if you create lots of shortcuts and put icon shortcuts to your actual shortcuts (whew!) on your home screen, these will help give personality to them as well as make them easily and quickly identifiable for you.
As someone who does a lot of work on the iPad, I have always wanted to be able to create efficient workflows for posting things to my various sites. This being a site that I own, it’s no exception.
One downside to moving the site from Wordpress to Hugo is that posting is basically a matter of putting the article content into a specific part of a markdown template, putting category and tag information into their designated part of the template, moving the edited file to the desired location for the post to appear, and recompiling the site with the “hugo” command.
I already knew I was going to make a shortcut to handle posting to the site for me, for the sake of ease and consistency. The beauty of automation is you never fat-finger a template edit and wind up having to fix something later when you notice. Also, …