Big computer displays boost productivity

Posted on Sunday, Mar 16 2008 @ 01:06 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Researchers at the University of Utah investigated how much the size of a computer display affects the productivity of computer users. The researchers set up various computer configurations and found that users with a 24" display could perform office work like editing documents and copying numbers between spreadsheets 52% faster than people who used a 18" display.

A dual 20" display setup was also tested, this didn't boost productivity as much as the 24" display but users with the dual 20" setup were still 44% faster than those with the 18" displays. There does some to be a limit though, the researchers claim productivity dropped off again when people used 26" displays.
The study concluded that someone using a larger monitor could save 2.5 hours a day. But James Anderson, the professor in charge of the study, tells the Business Technology Blog to take that result with a grain of salt: It assumes that someone will work non-stop for eight hours, which no one will, and that the tasks they perform will all benefit from a larger screen, which isn’t always the case. But things like moving data between files are ideally suited to bigger or multiple screens. Anderson, who uses a computer with two 20-inch screens and one 24-inch one, recommends that businesses take the time to match employees with the proper size screen based on job requirements.

A caveat: The study was funded by NEC, which makes computer monitors. But Anderson says that it was vetted by the University’s research board. Also, he doesn’t care who businesses buy their monitors from – he just wants businesses to realize that the right monitor can make someone more productive. And if a tech department has to buy 500 of the same size in order to get a bulk discount? Buy the biggest ones you can, Anderson tells us. “Size matters,” he adds.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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