Monitor Size – Does Bigger Mean Better?
This was the question posed to me in an email recently sent by a lady (and client of mine) whose husband was thinking of upgrading his equipment. In this case he was trying to convince his wife (and business partner) that the way forward was to ‘Supersize’ their monitors. She was not convinced.
Like every other instance there is no one universal answer. There are many pro’s and con’s to a larger monitor size, not least does your job warrant it, will your workspace accommodate it, and is the quality of the image compromised on a larger screen.
A larger monitor is a fairly obvious advantage for those who work in graphic design graphic, digital photography or for committed gamers. In the case of my clients they both work in financial services. There are many occasions where they need to have several windows open simultaneously side by side to enable them to transfer information to online forms or view large spread sheets, so for them a larger monitor was really quite a good idea. From a practical standpoint I had conducted an in-house ergonomic assessment of their office 6 months before and so I was aware that they had adequate room to accommodate larger monitors.
Just to be a little mischievous and to seal the deal I also referenced several studies that both suggested that using larger computer monitors increased workers’ productivity by 50-60%. A study carried out by Apple in 2006 suggested showed that workers using a 30-inch monitor had a 60% increased productivity on tasks such as making new folders and comparing spreadsheets. Apples research oddly coincided with the release of their latest monitor.
The other study published by the Wall Street Journal in 2008 found that people working on a 24-inch monitor worked 50% faster than those working on an 18-inch monitor. Although reported in the Wall Street Journal research again was sponsored by another computer firm, NEC.
Choosing the correct monitor size is important when buying computer monitors. Bigger monitors may seem the tempting choice but they are not always the right choice. You have to find one that meets your working requirements, your workspace and your budget. Computer users who mainly use the Internet for picking up email, chatting with friends, and surfing the net probably don’t need a large screen.