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Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive? 472

prostoalex writes "If your company uses 17" or 19" monitors, 30" monitors will make the employees more productive, Apple-sponsored research says. MacWorld reports: "Pfeiffer's testing showed time savings of 13.63 seconds when moving files between folders using the larger screen — 15.7 seconds compared to 29.3 seconds on the 17-in. monitor — for a productivity gain of 46.45 percent. The testing showed a 65.09 percent productivity gain when dragging and dropping between images — a task that took 6.4 seconds on the larger monitor compared to 18.3 seconds using the smaller screen. And cutting and pasting cells from Excel spreadsheets resulted in a 51.31 percent productivity gain — a task that took 20.7 seconds on the larger monitor versus 42.6 seconds on the smaller screen."" Calling such task-specific speed jolts "productivity gains" seems optimistic unless some measure of overall producivity backs up that claim, but don't mention that on the purchase order request.
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Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive?

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  • by Kartoffel ( 30238 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @08:57AM (#16406793)
    I certainly feel more productive on dual screens vs. a single display.

    LCDs are also more productive than CRTs, because they free up more desk space for heaping junk, err... I meant, organizing my work.
  • Re:Nope. (Score:3, Informative)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:06AM (#16406903) Journal
    Double the size makes quadruple the cost when it comes to LCD's.

    Indeed, that is why I preffered to get 2 17in LCDs instead of one 23. From my perspective I got more "desktop" state for less cash. And also, I can use one screen to show the Running program while the other is holing the IDE or run one program completely maximized and while the other screen has the small apps (winamp, browser, etc etc).

    One question I have always asked myself is how does the multiple screen setup works on the multi-desktop environments like X-window? does each virutal desktop expands to the second screen? I have not been able to use multiple monitors setup on my Linux distro so thats why I have not tested it.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:13AM (#16406999) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me the problem could be just as well solved with a higher resolution on the current monitor.

    Higher DPI on a given size monitor just makes the pixels smaller, meaning that each character's glyph contains more pixels. This makes the text sharper, but it doesn't increase the amount of useful work area unless the user has visual acuity significantly above the median.

  • by Dare nMc ( 468959 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @09:34AM (#16407281)

    > I'm even considering getting a 3rd screen,

    I have dual screens, and synergy [] mouse/keyboard sharing that makes my laptop behave like the 3rd screen, highly recomended, even gives that extra processing power of a second computer. Also add a tray to stand the laptop up.

  • Re:Answer is (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nik13 ( 837926 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:17AM (#16407879) Homepage
    Actually, I did look at replacing my dual 21" setup for a Dell 30" UltraSharp widescreen LCD (2560x1600). Nice big screen with high resolution and all. Even the price was not too bad as they had it on sale (like 600$ off).

    But then I realized I also needed one of the very few DVI dual-link video cards which weren't very cheap back then (over 200$ for the cheapest)

    But this thing can't really be shared on a KVM switch easily (find a KVM with dual DVI ports, and preferably with spdif while you're at it - good luck!) Try sharing that between 4 PCs, even if you have the right video cards in each PC. Even such a KVM existed, 4 new special video cards + special KVM would likely cost more than the 30" display!

    Needless to say I'm still using my pair of 21's.

    Likely, Apple's display would be just as much of a PITA.
  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @10:48AM (#16408361) Journal
    It doesn't need to make them twice as productive. It only needs to make them $1000 more productive. So if it's a sweatshop and you pay them less than minimum wage, say.. $10k they only need to improve 10% to make up the cost of the monitor. If you're paying them decent wages already, the breakeven improvement is even lower.

    A computer, even a yearly computer, is really a very small fraction of a typical professional salary.
  • Re:Answer is (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @11:36AM (#16409091)
    I just wanted to chime in because I think you've got two of them reversed. Where I work, the 3D guys have two monitors and the 2D guys have 30" single monitors. The reason for this is that a 3D app requires having several other apps open. For example, I typically have Photoshop open on one monitor while I have Maya open in the other. I need to be able to get back and forth between them without a lot of minimizing/maximizing. The 2D guys have 30" monitors (Apple, btw.) that run at a very high resolution so they can see all of the pixels they possibly can while they're painting. (It's not uncommon for their paintings to be several thousand pixels wide.) In their case, they rarely have to have more than one app open. I'm more productive with the two smaller monitors and the other department's more productive with the ginormous screen.

  • by kimgkimg ( 957949 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @11:52AM (#16409361)
    I constantly come across people at work that have 17 and 19 inch monitors and they run them at 800x600 res. Drives me up the wall trying to help them with a problem and they're shuffling windows everywhere. What's worse, you have people who run this res on LCDs which actually results in worse looking text because this isn't the panel's native resolution.
  • Re:Answer is (Score:1, Informative)

    by famikon ( 994709 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @01:33PM (#16410817)
    Not a hot KEY, but proves useful when I don't have a mouse hooked up. To maximize window thru keypresses: "shift+alt+space" then press "X"

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!