You are on page 1of 16

Monitor Size and Aspect Ratio

Productivity Research

A Comparison of Single and Dual Traditional Aspect Displays with a Widescreen Display over Productivity

Background and Methodology

NEC recently commissioned the University of Utah to conduct research on productivity gains of widescreen monitors versus dual or single traditional aspect ratio monitors. This study compared 26-Inch MultiSync widescreen (MS LCD2690 at 1920x1200 resolution), 24-inch MultiSync widescreen (MS LCD2470WNX at 1920x1200 resolution) and 20-inch MultiSync traditional format (MS LCD2070NX at 1600x1200 resolution) monitors.

Additional references were made to the findings from the 2003 multi-monitor productivity study which compared dual versus single 18-inch MultiSync traditional format monitors (MS LCD1855NX at 1280x1024 resolution).

Ninety-six respondents were randomly assigned a display sequence which included a single 20-inch monitor configuration, a dual 20-inch monitor configuration, and either a 24-inch Wide or 26-inch Wide monitor configuration.

Respondents were randomly assigned both text and spreadsheet editing tasks, which were completed on each display configuration. Time and editing performance measurements were analyzed for each respondent on each monitor configuration.

Productivity Summary

Increasing screen space increases productivity

However, these productivity gains max out and begin to decline once the screen becomes too large

out and begin to decline once the screen becomes too large When multiple windows are used
out and begin to decline once the screen becomes too large When multiple windows are used

When multiple windows are used for typical work, the standard 17-inch monitor and smaller are considerably less productive choices than larger options

Large widescreen monitors can be equally or more productive than dual screen monitors

And both are more effective than smaller, single screen monitors

Productivity Summary (Cont’d)

The 20-inch std format monitor returned an 18% increase in performance scores over the single 18-inch monitor and performed slightly better than even dual 18-inch monitors

The research tested user performance among text and spreadsheet tasks to determine productivity differences by the leading widescreen and dual screen uses

among text and spreadsheet tasks to determine productivity diffe rences by the leading wi descreen and

Productivity Summary (Cont’d)

There is clearly a task/display interaction which follows a bell curve pattern. Productivity is likely to increase as screen size increases until the until the maximum threshold is reached. There is a point to which screen space becomes so large that productivity gains will flatten and eventually decline

There is a point to which screen spa ce becomes so large that productivity gains will

Preference Summary

Preference is not a good predictor of a users’ performance, but does impact overall satisfaction levels

End-users significantly preferred larger screen real estate, either through a dual configuration or larger widescreen monitor, over single standard aspect screens

The 26-inch MultiSync widescreen, 24-inch MultiSync widescreen, and the dual 20-inch MultiSync monitors were significantly preferred over the single 20-inch traditional format monitor

Preference Summary (Cont’d)

Both widescreen and dual were preferred to single traditional format monitors because they are:

Users that preferred widescreen over dual cited the side-by-side screens could be closer and the lack of a bezel break aided preference for widescreen

Single Screen vs. Dual Screen vs. Widescreen

Performance Measures

Analysis of Performance Measures:

Text Editing Task

Widescreen was consistently the best performing configuration on text editing tasks

And both the 24-inch widescreen and 20-inch dual screens were significantly more productive than the 20-inch single monitor configuration in completing these text tasks

the 20-inch single monitor configuration in completing these text tasks Note: Text task confidence interval at

Analysis of Performance Measures:

Spreadsheet Editing Task

Although dual monitors take more time to set up than either single or widescreen monitors, dual monitors allowed for faster edits than did widescreen which allowed for faster edits than did the 20-inch single traditional monitor

Overall in the spreadsheet task, the dual 20-inch monitors performed the best with a slight lead over the 24-inch widescreen

performed the best with a slight lead over the 24-inch widescreen Note: Spreadsheet task confidence interval

Note: Spreadsheet task confidence interval at +/- 4.4%

Single Screen vs. Dual Screen vs. Widescreen:

Aptitude Groups

Respondents were placed into one of three aptitude groups, novice, intermediate or advanced based on skill level using the single traditional monitor configuration

Not surprisingly, aptitude had an effect on performance across display configurations

The novice aptitude group consistently had significantly higher performance on the MultiSync widescreen compared to the single traditional monitor

Intermediate and Advanced aptitude respondents performed equally well on the MultiSync widescreen and dual screen configurations and better than the single 20-inch monitor

The display configuration will have the most impact on all work when the user is less experienced

Widescreen and dual configurations reduce the productivity gap between aptitude levels

The 24-inch MultiSync widescreen is particularly beneficial for inexperienced users

Single Screen vs. Dual Screen vs. Widescreen

End User Preference

Recommendations

Proper choices in display configuration can have a significant impact on performance

With many office workers spending their entire day on the computer, monitor size and configuration becomes an extremely important component of the desktop set up

Not only does screen space impact a users’ productivity, screen space effects the amount of satisfaction obtained from the work

With the costs of larger LCD displays falling, the smaller, (less than 19-inch) monitor is no longer justified in terms of productivity returns and worker well-being

Based on performance and preference from this study, large widescreen or multiple monitor configurations are recommended for use in any situation where multiple documents of information are an ordinary part of the work

Recommendations (Cont’d)

The increasing number of possible display configurations with their different productivity curves encourages efforts to match the display configuration with the type of work to be done and the skill level of the individual doing that work

Another highly productive desktop configuration would include dual monitors with at least one being a larger widescreen monitor

As notebooks replace more desktop PCs in the workplace, a larger widescreen monitor alongside the laptop easily allows for this desktop configuration and could maximize productivity and preference

alongside the laptop easily allows for this de sktop configuration and could maximize productivity and preference
alongside the laptop easily allows for this de sktop configuration and could maximize productivity and preference
alongside the laptop easily allows for this de sktop configuration and could maximize productivity and preference
alongside the laptop easily allows for this de sktop configuration and could maximize productivity and preference

Productivity Curve

By plotting productivity gains from the sizes tested in the research we can approximate productivity gains for 19-inch traditional format and 22-inch wide, as well as dual 19-inch monitors

we can approximate productivity gains for 19-inch traditional format and 22-inch wide, as well as dual

Single Screen vs. Dual Screen vs. Widescreen:

Return On Investment

Based on the productivity gains obtained when increasing screen space over current leading monitor sizes, significant cost savings can be realized

# of Additional Days of Production Company Would Realize Per Year

 

x250

x500

x1000

x5000

Employees

Employees

Employees

Employees

Single 24" Wide

20,270

40,541

81,081

405,405

Single 22" Wide

16,544

33,088

66,176

330,882

Dual 19" Std

14,050

28,101

56,202

281,008

Single 19" Std

5,161

10,321

20,642

103,211

Dual 17" Std

8,152

16,304

32,609

163,043

Single 17" Std

No Gain

Net Annual Cost Savings (After Add'l Electricity and Monitor Cost)

 

x250

x500

x1000

x5000

Employees

Employees

Employees

Employees

Single 24" Wide

$ 2,324,891

$ 4,649,783

$ 9,299,565

$46,497,826

Single 22" Wide

$ 1,978,612

$ 3,957,224

$ 7,914,449

$39,572,244

Dual 19" Std

$ 1,564,908

$ 3,129,817

$ 6,259,634

$31,298,169

Single 19" Std

$ 549,374

$ 1,098,748

$ 2,197,495

$10,987,476

Dual 17" Std

$ 840,977

$ 1,681,953

$ 3,363,907

$16,819,535

Single 17" Std

No Gain