I've actually never played a computer game with a gamepad before - I played FFXI with just a keyboard and that worked fine but it doesn't really work as well with FFXIV - at least in beta - I was finding I needed the mouse - which was annoying because (well we all know why)...
So I heard a lot of people talking about how much better the experience is with a gamepad - so I decided to get one and try it out.
Of course there was a little snafu when the idiots at the gaming store sold me the wrong XBox controller (the wireless - EVEN WHEN PLUGGED IN - WILL NOT WORK) - but eventually I managed to get a working controller and hook it up and map it...
well - after the initial learning curve (which was short) I have to say that this game is INFINITELY better/smoother with a gamepad. The menus are less laggy and easier to navigate - things like emotes are way easier to use, and I find that in battle my character responds faster and is more maneuverable (way easier to get behind the enemy and stabby stab stab).
Honestly - if SE wanted to save themselves a lot of complaints and grief they would have put a gamepad in the CE so that people at least KNEW that they did in fact design the game with a gamepad in mind - because it is painfully obvious they did.
So while I am glad they are working on optimizing the game for mouse and keyboard players I have to strongly urge people who are finding the UI particularly annoying to look into making the investment in a game pad. It DOES make a huge difference. It is just so much more immeasurably comfortable to use and it feels more intuitive.
You can also map things however you want to - which is another bonus.