I never thought of either until reading your post. The shifter is a little weird, it seems disconnected from reality because it kind of is. We're all used to shifters that are hooked with cables or linkage to a notchy automatic or even better a lovely manual transmission. Both are positive reminders that you're in 'control' of something. The LEAF shifter is a bit underwhelming because you're just giving the car a suggestion of the direction you'd like to take and it makes the magic happen from there. The directional orientation never really gave me any pause, but I get it.
As for the cruise control switch, help me with why this is bothersome. When you hit the switch it lights up the cruise control indicator which I don't really want to stare at all the time, are you proposing to just hit the 'set / accel' button and be done with it? I think I've had a bunch of cars with some way to turn on/off the cruise control but don't remember if any just had 'set/accel' and 'coast'.
Interesting points both though.