As someone who taught people how to use both programmes, I'd say people are equally baffled by each programme, albeit in different ways. But once you grok how each programme works then they are both very easy to use. The "difficulty" in using either is more to do with the myriad things you can do and choosing what to do and when to do it. This takes experience and practice time. Something not everyone can be bothered to do.
I have tested Photoshop a few times over the last decade. Every time I stopped once I had spent a couple of hours not being able to do _anything_. If I borrowed a camera and still hadn't made a single image after 2 hours I would probably return it. For me the process of learning has to have minor rewards along the way (such as the joy of seeing an image being gradually improved). I think this is the only reason that Microsoft Office was able to dominate its market in the 90s, people could write and print a simple letter within minutes without ever touching the advanced menus. The competitors had features geared towards the experienced users, but did not care much about soccer-mums.
This also raises an important issue. Ease of use, intuitive, simple are words oft used when taking about software, yet what people often miss is the fact that some tasks are actually complex and there is not necessarily a simple one button solution to do something and to get good at most things requires practice, lots of practice. And sometimes after using software for longer periods, you realise that the 'quirky/unintuitive' behaviours have a good reason to be there. Though sadly you also get software that gets more annoying as you realise its limitations/stupid behaviour.
Sure. User interaction is tough. The good thing about Lightroom (and many Apple products) is that they seem to have found a well-defined group of users and focus on helping them getting the job done with a minimum of effort. This means cutting sexy features that expert users and intern software developers might want to include.
Also intuitive is all too often used instead of the word familiar, despite them having very different meanings. LR being a database and a parametric editor worked in a way most people were unfamiliar with, which caused confusion for many coming from bitmap photo editors as it worked in a quite unfamiliar way. Intuitive means easy to use even if unfamiliar with (in this case) the software.
When writing software for MS Windows, one should adhere to that platforms conventions. Windows users will be familiar with certain items being in the "file" menu, and certain actions being available by right-clicking. Adobe sadly does not seem to think so.
Parametric editing is a major obstacle, but it seems that the rewards are sufficient that many users take the time to learn it.
I actually find some programmes that try and go the simple route end up being simplistic instead and can in fact be quite difficult to use. Particularly programmes that go the route of removing features/buttons in order to be simpler - which is such a lazy approach. One Apple is guilty of at times.
It is easy to add buttons or remove buttons. The hard part is helping a sufficiently large group of users do what they expect from a product (or what they will learn to appreciate) as effort-less as possible.
My Sony tv has a web-browser, dlna, installable apps, and what not. It also has 5 hdmi inputs, loudspeakers and loads of other stuff that I will never use. For me personally, it is clearly a case of putting in too many irrelevant features instead of focusing on the primary concern for me: image quality vs price. Now, I judged this particular tv to have very good image quality, but Sony could still have lowered their dev costs and sold it to me at higher margins (or, preferreably, diverted those resouces to the zoned backlighting system).
It seems that Adobe is focusing on adding new modules for rendering images in various forms. This is not the direction that I want them to go. I want:
1)Very good raw development/editing (HDR stacking, pano stitching, simple multi-image layering)
2)Very good database/search functions (I am convinced that it could be done more intuitive and flexible. Face detection? Focus/exposure quality estimation? I dont know...)
3)Very good export/print to paper or jpeg (I have less gripes with this part)
This is (to my mind) the core Lightroom functionality that should work fast, intuitive and with very good results. Other modules are nice-to-haves that may detract from the overall experience.