When we think about computer ergonomics, we usually look at how our monitor is positioned (is it an appropriate distance from our eyes?), where our keyboard is laid out (in a keyboard tray or on our desktop?), and if our chair height lets us keep our knees at a 90 degree angle. In other words, computer ergonomics has always been about hardware (ours and our machine's). It's never been about the software. That's got to change.
I find myself using my iPad primarily in landscape mode. I do so because in landscape mode you can see most apps' menu items all the time (like a complete list of emails in my inbox laid out next to the message I'm currently viewing in the iPad's Mail app). Seeing everything at once is handy, but the thing is, I find holding my iPad in portrait mode to be much more comfortable and convenient because I can see more text on the screen. Of course portrait mode has the drawback that many apps' menus are hidden from view and only accessible by an inconvenient drop down menu button that's almost always in the top left or right corner.
Why inconvenient? What's the problem? The problem is ergonomics. The drop down menu button is in a very awkward place to reach when your hands and thumbs are holding the iPad near the middle of the device. Its location means that unless you have an incredibly long thumb (and if you do, send us a picture), you'll need to move your entire hand just to tap the portrait view drop down menu button. Wouldn't it be terrific if developers started utilizing a few pixels on the sides of the screen in portrait mode to let users access menus in an easier fashion? I think so, and one major app developer does as well.