Do Larger Monitors equal greater productivity?

According to University of Utah researchers, using a larger monitor could save you 2.5 hours per 8 hour work day. Tests were carried out comparing users of an 18inch monitor to users of a 24 inch. They also compared the 18inch monitor to using two 20inch monitors side by side. People who used two 20 inch monitors were 44% more productive than the group with the 18inch, whereas the group with the 24 inch screens were up to 52% faster at completing their tasks. Different industries and different task requirement will benefit in different ways from varying monitor set ups, but the general research appears to show that increasing the monitor size available to you in which ever manner, will lead to an increase in productivity.

Some of the many benefits of a dual screen system that people cite are :

1. being able to look at notes on one screen while typing or working on the other screen
2. Comparing drafts of documents
3. Comparing images
4. Being able to see all columns of a spreadsheet
5. Having different programs open and in view at the same time.

Benefits of larger screens in general:

1. Copy and pasting from one document to another
2. Being able to see all palettes in programs such as Photoshop
3. Being able to see both design and development view in programs such as Dreamweaver
4. Reduction in scrolling time

An interesting point that the Utah study showed was that there was a diminishing marginal utility when it comes to monitor size. Their research showed that increasing the monitor size to 26 inch had a negative effect on productivity. Others studies have conflicting results and show productivity gains with monitors up to 30 inches.

The best advice is to try out somebody else’s configuration before you invest in a new monitor or monitors. Each individual’s requirement should be taken into account, and assessed as to whether there is a requirement for a dual screen system or just a larger monitor. Companies like Google and Microsoft are littered with dual screens, as are many of the banks and larger organizations. Again it is wise to be careful before spending, as many workers find their productivity falling when they have two screens open as they often keep their email open on one of the screens and fall into the trap of reacting to incoming email and allowing themselves to be distracted from the work they should be busying themselves with.

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Comments (3)

I definitely work faster with a larger screen size

It’s about pixels, not monitor size. Assuming you can see the pixels, going from a 24″ to 26″ monitor only makes your eyes move more in your head, assuming the same screen resolution. What would be interesting is a study focused on increased productivity compared to increased pixels, while also factoring eyesight and pixel density.

Hi Bart, you are right the study showed that the increase from 24 to 26 inch had a negative effect on productivity. It would be interesting to see how pixels density would effect things but overall I think it has been proven that the dual screen system has the most impact on productivity.

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