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Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive?

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the or-at-least-gets-them-to-mmorgs-faster dept.

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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Answer is (5, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406773)

"Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive?"

yes.

Re:Answer is (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406879)

"Will my boos buy in?"

no

Re:Answer is (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406905)

It isn't really so concrete, though, is it? I'm perfectly happy with my 19". Would a 30" really help? Maybe... If I had a 30", would a 50"? What about a 100"?

Maybe 30" isn't the magic number, either. Maybe 30" is really TOO big and would cut my productivity because I have to constantly move my whole head to view the screen, instead of just my eyes.

I have a 37" LCD HDTV as a monitor at home. (Mainly for games.) I find I have to sit all the way across the room (Like 8' away) in order to properly view the screen. I'd get the same benefit from a ~ 22" screen that is much closer, and there wouldn't be all that wasted room space.

At work, I'm not even sure a 30" screen would fit on my desk... I seriously doubt it would make me more productive.

Also, it's worth noting that the upgrade from 15" to 19" didn't do much for my productivity at work.

Re:Answer is (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407029)

Two 19" monitors will give you the same flexibility, at a much lower cost point - AND you can angle each viewing area separately. You can't do that with a single screen.

BTW, twin 19" screens are my setup at both home and the office (the home box is set with xinerama off, the work box with it on).

Re:Answer is (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407113)

Also, it's worth noting that the upgrade from 15" to 19" didn't do much for my productivity at work.

I had the opposite experience; moving from a 15" to 19" monitor increased my productivity so much that tasks that used to take me all morning and part of the afternoon to finish are now complete by 11:30 - which gives me tons more time to browse /. on slow days, or on days like yesterday, find out about a user problem, do some research, come up with a solution, implement it, tinker with it, and roll it out to a very pleased user base. And that nicely documented bit of help goes into my review file, which should help me get more money at my next review. I love a big screen!

Re:Answer is (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407163)

We went from 17" to 20" at work and it's fantastic to have some extra breathing room on the desktop. I've got duals at home and I love zipping around. I'm on OS X on both, but even with Expose it's lovely having the extra space.

I can see why some would be skeptical, but it really depends on what you do. Do you write code and edit text one file at a time? Maybe two at a time? Or do you work with a few different apps at any given time and need to switch between them and move data around? The former wouldn't probably see any increase in productivity from a larger screen (although may be able to see the screen better). The latter? Hell yeah!

Re:Answer is (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407015)

I hope my employer realizes this. I've always wanted to play minesweeper at 2048×1536 resolution.

-Eric

Re:Answer is (3, Funny)

dp_wiz (954921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407093)

Please write text with a larger font. It is very difficult to locate it on this 45" panel...

JEWS DID 10/11 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406775)

n/t

Re:JEWS DID 10/11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407243)

True, they also did 12/13/14/15/16/17/18... ;D

Cancer (-1, Troll)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406777)

What about the correlation between increase in size and tumors?

Re:Cancer (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406969)

Last time I checked, LCD displays didn't have an electron gun like CRT displays.

Re:Cancer (1)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407195)

LCD's cause cancer? Holy hell!

Seriously, this is 2006. CRTs are about finished. ;-)

Suprisingly enough... (4, Insightful)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406779)

30" screens will also make Apple a lot more money. Funny how that works out.

Re:Suprisingly enough... (5, Funny)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407083)

In other news, a study sponsored by Phillip-Morris says smoking makes you look cooler, thus attracting the opposite sex.

Re:Suprisingly enough... (1)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407183)

didn't work for me at the bar last night... maybe I need to switch brands.

Re:Suprisingly enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407309)

Don't forget that having a cool Mac under the desk also boosts productivity.

Nope. (2)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406781)

Double the size makes quadruple the cost when it comes to LCD's.

Re:Nope. (2, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406903)

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.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407257)

Well it depends what you want, You can choose to have your desktop spanned over both screens, you can have a separate desktop per screen (in this case you can't move a window to the other screen, dragging files and copy past etc. works though) Basicly you can do whatever you want :)

Virtual desktops and multiple screens (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407285)

AFAIK, if you're using Xinerama, both screens act as a single one, so virtual desktops are expanding to the 2nd screen.

If not using Xinerama, Both screens act independantly, and you therefore get twice as much virtual desktops. The drawback being, you can't move one window from one screen to the 2nd (some gnome apps like gimp can, though, but not by dragging windows)

These additional independant virtual desktops are the reason why I'm not using Xinerama with my home Window Maker setup.

Re:Nope. (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407321)

It can, or it can be two separate desktops. Very cool.

I've been playing with xdmx lately, which does a similar thing but with two computers (I have an old P-133 laptop). I have it working, except that KDE 3.5 has issues with it (text and icons disappear), Firefox crashes for some reason, and it's a bit slower on the "primary" system than X alone is. But the advantages of the multi-screen are quite obvious, no matter whether you expand one desktop to two screens or have separate desktops, and I'd use it all the time if the software worked reliably.

why not dual or triple displays? (4, Informative)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

ran-o-matic (667054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406915)

I agree. I use two 19" LCD displays and my ability to multi-task is much better than when I used a single display. It also helps me organize my virtual desktop as well as my physical desk. I wonder if a single 30" monitor would be as good?

Re:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407041)

Well, dual displays help give you a set boundary between code and email, or code and version control, or code and specs, etc. etc.

Re:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406967)

Agreed, I'm on dual 19" and it's the best thing in the world. I'm even considering getting a 3rd screen, size doesn't matter, just for meebo to live on.

Re:why not dual or triple displays? (3, Informative)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407281)

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


I have dual screens, and synergy [sourceforge.net] 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:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

Bobby Orr (161598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407295)

Likewise. I would rather have my two 19" monitors than one 30". Two monitors of sufficient size give me a main workspace screen and a scratchpad, information, outlook, itunes, etc. screen. I can compare docs side by side, drag to a different monitor and maximize, etc. I believe I could use any given number of 19" monitors but I really doubt that any more or bigger than what I have would create any real gain in produtivity. OTOH, I believe that having only one 19" would create a shortage of screen space and slow me down a bit.

Long story short: for me, two 19-inchers are the sweet spot.

Re:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407085)

Dual screens is nice, but six screens [digitaltigers.com] is better.

Re:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407095)

This is so true - I have a laptop with docking station for work, and when I first came here, they had the monitor sitting on a stand right on top of the docking station, so I couldn't open up the laptop. I asked the techie to remove the stand, and voila! A double-size desktop is available using the monitor on the left and my open laptop on the right. People around here acted like it was voodoo or something... very strange.

It's a huge plus to have a document open for reading (or copying) on one monitor, while editing something else on the other, or working on one while email or other alerts pop up on the second.

When you look at the whole cost of an employee's workstation (cubicle, furniture, hardware, software, etc. I would think a 2nd monitor wouldn't be a huge incremental cost, considering the gains to be had. Take call centers, for example - they could have their CRM package up on one monitor, logging calls, actions, etc., and have their order processing or inventory system open on the other, for easy access to assist with inquiries and performing tasks.

Re:why not dual or triple displays? (1)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407139)

I feel more productive and a whole load happier and comfortable. Forget the bottom line for a moment and spare a thought for workers well-being. And, big screens are great if a bunch of people need to crowd round the screen and discuss something.

That depends... (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407199)

...on the work your doing, and if it can be partitioned into multiple spaces efficiently. CAD work, it turned out for me, wasn't any more efficient on two screens, but was more efficient on a large widescreen. Since the tools take up a small portion of the screen, a second monitor was mostly unused (unless you count a calendar and email program constantly viewable as useful). A single, large monitor means more drawing data available / more detail shown on the screen, and reduces zooming and panning for operations. If I could drive a 30" from my laptop, I might buy one. I use a 24" WS 'cause it matches my current laptop resolution (seamless transition from work to road use), and it wasn't insanely expensive (30"ers were over $2.5k when I got the 24).

What about Higher Resolution? (2, Interesting)

pshumate (1004477) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406811)

It seems to me the problem could be just as well solved with a higher resolution on the current monitor. I don't really trust the research, since Apple, you know, makes behemoths of display technology.

Re:What about Higher Resolution? (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406983)

No, it can't be solved just as easily, because you either run into the native resolution of the display, or the fact the text you're looking at is too frickin' small

Higher DPI != more work area (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406999)

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.

Only works to a limited extent (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407339)

True, to a point. I've got pretty good eyesight, but at a comfortable viewing distance (15-20"), 90-100dpi seems about optimal. My laptop is 150dpi, and even at 12-14" viewing distance is tiresome. Switching from a 15.4" WUXGA screen to a 24" WUXGA screen made a noticable difference in my end-of-day productivity, with no change in pixels, as it was a function of how tired my eyes got.

LCDs, of course, don't really have a variable display resultion - they have one optimal resolution, and anything else looks lousy. When I used CRTs, I would run a 20" at 1600x1200. Many (older) coworkers didn't like to work at my station because they had problems resolving the text in dialogs and on buttons (they ran 1280x1024 mostly). I preferred it because it got most the toolbars and such "out of the way" and left more "space" for my work area (cad/analysis).

Going from UXGA to WUXGA (an extra 320x1200 pixels on the side) helped a lot, as I could drop all my toolbars/pallets on one side, leaving a large 4:3 space to do my drafting. Now, I might have saved 1 to 2 minutes a day in fewer pan/zoom actions, but it adds up over time.

Moving files? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406813)

The time I need to type mv file /some/new/destination/ may depend on the size of the keyboard, but surely not on the size of the screen.

Re:Moving files? (5, Funny)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406947)

Yes, but if you can touch type, you can move your files and read s;asjdpt at tje sa,e to,e...

I don't really care... (5, Funny)

Ibanez (37490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406817)

...what you all think regarding whether it's truly a jump in productivity or not.

*copies link, sends to boss.*

What about 2 monitors? (0, Redundant)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406819)

Don't know about everyone else, but I quite like having a totally separate debugger/help screen.

Idiotic example (5, Funny)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406821)

Sure, I'll agree that big screens can make one more productive. In fact I'd rather have two big monitors than one attached to my machine. More real estate is a good thing.

But the given example, of dragging and dropping files, has got to be the stupidest thing I've read today, and I'm already at work.

Re:Idiotic example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407023)

But the given example, of dragging and dropping files, has got to be the stupidest thing I've read today, and I'm already at work.

Agreed. I'm writing C on a monitor that won't go above 1024x768, and I can say for sure it would be useful to have a decent amount of screen space, so I could see more code at the same time, or maybe even two files at once. But dragging and dropping? That seems like a stupid measurement...

Wanna make employees more productive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406823)

Instead of spending thousands of $ upgrading, why not just ban the internet in the workspace. Easy (and cheap) way to increase productivity!

Re:Wanna make employees more productive? (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406855)

This way productivity will go down, because it adds the time needed to circumvent the ban to the time used to browse Slashdot!

Refer to Amdahl's Law (5, Interesting)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406829)

Apple should refer to Amdahl's Law [wikipedia.org] to see that a 50% speedup of something that only accounts for 1% of your overall time really ain't that big of a deal!

Re:Refer to Amdahl's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407071)

Who cares about Amdahl's Law when Apple needs suckers to pad its profit margins? Suckers wanted! Apply at your local store.

Re:Refer to Amdahl's Law (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407103)

It depends on the volume of actions.

If the numbers justify it, a .5% increase in productivity can be a big deal across a company of 20,000 (or even 20) people.

Or just do it for employees (secretaries, data entry, etc) who spend more than [insert minumum thresh hold %] of their time doing tasks like Excel or drag N' drop stuff.

Include intangibles like employee morale and it might make sense to do it company-wide, even if it is only a breakeven proposition.

Boss: Hey guys, check out your brand new 30" monitors.
Everyone: Awesome!!

Re:Refer to Amdahl's Law (4, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407181)

50% and 1%? So you're saying there's a 51% speedup! Excellent! I'll forward your request right down to purchasing and you'll have two monitors on your desk on Monday. I hope to see 102% improvement!

Signed,

Rich
(your manager)

2 screens (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406831)

i find 2 screens more productive than one large screen..

Depending on what you're doing, yes... (5, Insightful)

evilduckie (854758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406847)

One of my clients, involved in cartography (making maps), showed me his brand new 30" screen and said he had upgraded from 20" because on one single project, he was losing about 25% of his time scrolling around. So I'd have to say it not only made him more productive, but it also eventually paid for itself.

Re:Depending on what you're doing, yes... (3, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406977)

>cartography (making maps),
Please say that didn't really need explaining.

Re:Depending on what you're doing, yes... (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407149)

I thought it was a fancy way of saying he makes carts...

Re:Depending on what you're doing, yes... (3, Funny)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407231)

I thought he took pictures of cars... *damn*, right when my dream job was at my fingertips.. stupid maps!

I need more than a screen to work :) (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406851)

Give me a user interface like that ship on Andromeda and watch me get productive.

An AI that speaks English, a robot with a personality, a plug-in-your-brain interface, put 'em all together and let's get to work!

Re:I need more than a screen to work :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406893)

Give me photos of the andromeda actress and watch me get productive.

A big screen and belly wipes for the win!

Re:I need more than a screen to work :) (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407017)

And when you try to have your mid-morning coffee it yells in your ear the whole time 'Are you done yet? Are you done yet? Are you done yet?'.
OMG, What if Microsoft decide to add 'personality' to clippy and next time you're trying to finish a Word document to a deadline it pops up and says 'relax, I'm taking a break for 15mins, see ya later!' before Word minimises and refuses to play ball.

How about dual screen monitors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406863)

How about dual screen monitors? At my work we all have dual 17" monitors, which is a cheaper option than a single 30" and provides greater efficiency if you want to run one app in full screen. I guess they wouldn't make Apple as much money though.

Big Screen = Dual Monitor (1)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406865)

This is the same as having two monitors. My productivity drops drastically when using one monitor. I normally have code on one screen and flip between reference material and viewing the program on the other screen. I don't have to memorize anything because it is always visible. So, I've trained myself out of remembering phrases or numbers for that few seconds it takes to flip screens and type. Instead, I have to copy/paste when using one screen - which takes more time than glancing at one screen and typing in the other.

I wonder if multiple desktops helps also. I have a production desktop for my work, a communication desktop with email/IM, and a fun desktop with my music player and such. I can jump between them without moving a lot of windows around. Will that concept be adopted by more than the Gnome/KDE models?

Re:Big Screen = Dual Monitor (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407003)

I have a production desktop for my work, a communication desktop with email/IM, and a fun desktop with my music player and such. I can jump between them without moving a lot of windows around. Will that concept be adopted by more than the Gnome/KDE models?

It's a great concept, but it didn't start with Gnome and KDE. Amiga had an oversize scrollable workspace in 1985. swm implemented multiple virtual desktops in 1989.

Re:Big Screen = Dual Monitor (1)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407047)

So, I've trained myself out of remembering phrases or numbers for that few seconds it takes to flip screens and type. Instead, I have to copy/paste when using one screen - which takes more time than glancing at one screen and typing in the other.
Double-clicking on what you wanna copy, plus middle-click to copy would surely be a lot faster than reading and typing (and it avoids typos!). Just my 2cts.

Monitor Size (4, Funny)

tds67 (670584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406867)

I spit on this male-sponsored study. Size doesn't matter...it's what you do with it that counts.

Apple-sponsored research says... (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406875)

Apple-sponsored research says

Exactly. If I were Apple I would want to sell more large screens too!

Documented in peer-reviewed science journal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406881)

...is the little known fact that having dual 30" widescreen LCDs with 2ms response time to accompany my Aeron would make me far more productive.

Quite a bit more... (4, Interesting)

RabidMonkey (30447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406883)

I ran one monitor at work for a long time (17" - the head IT guy keeps rejecting my request for a 19"). They won't let me put a second video card in my computer, so I threw up a linux box and use X2VNC between them and now I have twice the usable space and I am much more productive, especially when coding or doing trouble tickets. I spend way less time alt-tabbing around looking for my terminal sessions - they're all on one monitor, as well as my browser, etc, leaving my 'work' tools on the other so I can move between easily.

The downsides I see are a) cost and b) people getting a 30" monitor, complaining they can't see anything, and running 800x600. I think that would break my heart and mind a little, but it wouldn't suprise me. People around here still run 800x600 on their 17" monitors, and complain that 1280x1024 is too small.

But, now that I think about it, having a 30" monitor wouldn't necessarily help - when you maximize a window, it fills the whole screen, which still puts you back to alt-tabbing. Maybe a better window manager/gui that you could break the screen in to regions, so that when you maximize a window, it would only fill the top 40% or something. Or the ability to pin windows to a location, os you don't have to maximize them.

I think my point is that more screen real-estate, be it one huge monitor, or 2 (or 3 as I sometimes setup) is very much more useful.

God, I babble a lot.

Re:Quite a bit more... (2, Insightful)

Mr. McD (166893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406933)

when you maximize a window, it fills the whole screen, which still puts you back to alt-tabbing

You can correct this problem if you're running Mac OS X ;)

Re:Quite a bit more... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407145)

People around here still run 800x600 on their 17" monitors, and complain that 1280x1024 is too small.

Remember this was an Apple study - if you've never used a Mac for some time, you won't know it, but scaling is absolutely astonishing on the Mac compared to the PC. While on the PC (both Windos and Linux) you set a pixel resolution for the screen, and then a pixel resolution for your fonts so things work, roughly, somehow, a little bit... well, let's be honest: They don't hurt too much.
On the Mac you set a resolution and leave the rest to the OS and OSX scales everything - fonts, windows, icons, really everything - to fit.

It's a fantastic feature. When I move a window in a dual-head setup from the 15.4" MacBook Pro screen over to the 21" cinema display, it retains its visual size, even though its pixel resolution changes. All while moving the window (i.e. the left part is larger than the right actually, but visual size is identical).

The cinema display runs at 1680x1050. I've never had the "font too small to read" problem, which I regularily did have at 1280x1024 on PCs, even on 21" displays.

Re:Quite a bit more... (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407235)


People around here still run 800x600 on their 17" monitors, and complain that 1280x1024 is too small.

When I was a ground-pounder, doing on site tech support and installations, etc., I would run into this all the time, especially when people were upgrading from, say, a 17" CRT to a 17" LCD. I would just try to explain to people that the monitor is designed to run at the higher resolution, and if you run it smaller, it's actually harder to read, because it makes its self blurry while it blows up the picture. Or something like that. Usually I would convince people to try to leave the monitor on the native resolution for a week or two.

Seriously. If you put an LCD at a smaller resolution, it just looks awful, but if someone demands it, then whatever. Get 'em a 1600x1200 native resolution so when they crank it to 800x600 it'll scale propotionally.

~Will

Re:Quite a bit more... (1)

AmishMoshr (774633) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407303)

The Ion window manager(s) may be helpful for the task you're talking about (sectioning off the monitor in to different areas). Ion tiles windows rather than having them float, giving each app its own dedicated space. Using it has dropped my reliance on a mouse tremendously and really helps when coding since there is no moving windows around to see some specific item.

As a nice bonus, Ion also supports multiple desktops of different types so you can have a tiled desktop #1 while desktop #2 is a more traditional floating window type.

http://modeemi.cs.tut.fi/~tuomov/ion/ [cs.tut.fi] - I don't think I've done it justice with my description here but take a look, it's quite nice.

Re:Quite a bit more... (1)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407317)

Maybe a better window manager/gui that you could break the screen in to regions, so that when you maximize a window, it would only fill the top 40% or something.

It's already been solved (well, for my purposes), in a lot of less mainstream wm's. larswm, dwm, and ratpoison are all forced layout managers that explore different ideas on the topic. The problem with them is that none work terribly well with Xinerama and 2+ monitors, but then, I don't know that I've ever seen a window manager that tried to work with a multi-monitor setup.

Apple knows a thing or two about small screens (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406889)

I imagine most Apple Employees are more productive on 17" screens than on smaller ones [lowendmac.com] .

Funny though, my word processor is slower today than it was then.

Not in my office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16406899)

I work for a large defense contractor. We have some very, VERY smart people working for us. In recent years, we've been slowly upgrading to large (22") Dell flat panels. To date, I've yet to see ONE engineer running the panel at its native resolution. 1024x768 seems to be almost standard. Why? I'll never know. Maybe their eyes are just bad (many are very old).

Re:Not in my office (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407117)

I've know a lot of very smart people who don't know how to right click on the desktop, choose properties, then the settings tab, then choose the proper resolution and bit depth for an LCD monitor that they didn't purchase, didn't connect, and don't have the manual for.

The question to ask is "where the fuck is your tech support?" - they should be putting that information in, not wasting the time of the techincal folks. Oh, right, I've worked in those shops before - most of IT is busy rimming the CxOs, making sure their streaming nasdaq app has unfettered access to the internet.

There is an issue with some monitors having "too much" resolution for some tasks. I have a Dell M70 (don't snigger), and it's got a 15.4" WUXGA screen. My eyesight is pretty good, but even with a 12-14" viewing distance, I found that my eyes would hurt after a full day of CAD/analysis work. I finally gave up and bought an $800 24" 1920x1200 screen for the docking station. Difference is night and day. 90dpi is far better for office work than 150dpi in windows. (many standard dialogs won't scale properly with the magic "font size" option, and you can't read them anymore)

A 30'' monitor at work (4, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406901)

would make sneakily watching porn a lot more worthwhile.

Here's a wildcard of an idea (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406907)

moving files between folders ... 15.7 seconds compared to 29.3 seconds on the 17-in. monitor

A GUI is not a suitable environment for everything guys - I've seen so many people stuff about clicking everywhere and sorting by extension when they could just use a very simple command to move things in up to one tenth of the time. Computers are there to do the heavy lifting for us if we just tell them the rules. There are a lot of good uses for big screens and multiple screens - but a glass typewriter version of a filing cabinet is given as the example?

Only suckers buy Apple anyways (0, Troll)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406925)

What's more productive than a 30 inch screen? Two 20 inch screens that combined, cost half as much.

Re:Only suckers buy Apple anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407141)

A 30" screen is 1/8 bigger than two 20" screens though. Something to keep in mind when making comparisons.

Re:Only suckers buy Apple anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407269)

Sorry. I should have added I based that calculation on 4:3 displays. A 30" being 24x18 and a 20" being 16x12. At 16:9 the two 20" displays are about 13% bigger.

More screen real-estate, not necessarily bigger (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406929)

More screen real-estate will improve certain types of workers - I have dual 17" flat panels at work, and that helps a great deal in coding - I can have a header up in a window on one screen, and the code using that header on another, or a document of a protocol up on one and the state machine for that protocol up on another, and so on.

While I could just as easily do the same sort of thing with a single 30" screen, for the cost, having 2 cheap 17" panels makes a LOT more sense.

So while I do question the exact methodology Apple used (cp -r source_dir dest_dir works a whole lot faster and is pretty much screen-size independent), and I do question the idea that the best way to achieve the benefit is a single, very expensive screen, I don't dispute the basic conclusion - more screen area will increase productivity of many classes of employee.

Virtual Screens as an alternative (1)

RedneckJack (934223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406931)

Another help which is not offered by Windows or even Mac, Virtual Screens which are prevalent in Linux such as on KDE or FVWM. One virtual screen runs web browser, another one has an edit window for programming and another for compiling and debugging for example.

Widescreen = more terminals (1)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406935)

Because I try to limit terminal widths for vim to a reasonable amount, just having the widescreen aspect helps a ton. It allows me to have multiple sessions open side-by-side, with the windows stretched to fill the entire height. 30" would seem I could tile them veritically as well as horizontally.

Maybe, but not as much as 2 smaller screens (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406953)

In Windows the behavior of a large desktop is easier for most users on 2 smaller monitors. When we moved into our new building all of the IT department got two monitors, something that has been a huge boon to us developers. Well, just recently the network guys got cleared to put dual monitors on the accounting department's machines, and select employees through out the corporate office. People who are running multiple systems side by side. For instance, we have collectors that have a leasing system open, a reporting system open, and a customer on the phone. For them, the saving of 10 seconds wait while talking with the customer is a huge improvement in quality of service.

-Rick

hmmm (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406955)

I use two monitors.

The 12" on my tablet and a 17" Dell LCD.

I put mail and an MMC on the 12" with browsers and text editors on the 17".

I'm not sure it makes me more productive but at least I know where things are.

29.3 Seconds? (5, Funny)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406959)

Anybody that takes 29.3 to do a file-copy operation needs treatment for their Parkinson's disease, NOT a bigger monitor.

Oh yeah? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16406981)

I dare any of you to go out, armed with this article, and expense a pair of massive huge-screen monitors.

...If it works, send me the extra.

It's the same crap as 5S (1)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407033)

You can take any small measurement, perform an analysis to make it faster, and then claim a HUGE Savings for the action.

Yes, two screens make me more productive. Three screens make me even more productive- I can have corporate email, CNN, Javadocs, compiler, and editor screens open all at the same time. I save quite a bit of time. At the end of the day... how are you going to measure that exactly?

Improvement processes (such as 5S) are being implemented as we speak. My job was to 5S the coffee room. Accordingly I can now make coffee (which I don't, because I don't drink it) approximately 15 percent faster. Net savings to the company per year? 0. Coffee breaks are unpaid. But they paid an engineer to clean and tape off the floor for 9 hours...

I'm still trying to think of the most complicated spreadsheet I ever use (data sheets for site visits and inventories) and I still can't think of a single task that took me 20 seconds to paste back and forth. That's rather pathetic...

24 x 80 chars should be enough (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407077)

24 x 80 chars should be enough. Seriously. It's 2006 and I do a lot of work on xterms. OK, somtimes I resise them a bit but I develop as if I still had 24 x 80. Trust me, code and documents look better using k+r style. Even in Java.

Larger Screen productivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407081)

Great. I've been spending all day moving files from folder to folder and now with one of these new fangled monitors I can be done just after lunch.

Let's do the math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407097)

Let's say you earn an annual salary of $50,000 (not factoring in insurance and other benefits) and a 30" monitor costs $1500 (for the Dell). To make back the $1500 the monitor costs, you must be 3% more efficient. 3% of a total 8 hour work day is about 15 minutes. So, will this monitor save you 15 minutes a day? If the answer is yes, then it is a good purchase. If not, will a 24" monitor save you 8 minutes a day? It's a good fallback.

Next on Slashdot... (1)

ViaNRG (892147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407099)

Bigger refrigerators hold more food!

Happy is good (1)

suntac (252438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407121)

If it really makes you more productive, I don't know. I know I feel more happy in working on large screens.... And when you are happy you do more work. So in that case yes.

And to be honest, if you are doing code it is better to have a large screen so you just can have more information on your screen.... And you do not have to scroll so much. So yes I think it can be a gain in productivity.

Even Faster... (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407123)

Why are they talking about saving time dragging files around? I have an even faster method - its called the "Command Line"

Actual Work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16407167)

Great, that means with a 50% gain in productivity I can get my work done in 7.5 minutes v. 15 and after a few days of that I will be right back to 15 minutes time for the task.

Sponsered by me (1)

ZombieSquirrel (978302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407171)

I have a 22" monitor and it took me 17.5% less time to realize this was a bullshit artilcle article than it would have on my old 19".

Field of view (1)

radioguyuk (1012615) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407185)

In my current day job, in order to work I have: Two desktop PCs with one 17" screen on each,One sits on the coporate network and the other on the Internet. Working on one screen on both these computers ( as they are not allowed to be networked ) is totally impractical, I cant copy and paste between them so a fair bit of copy typing goes on. If I had one screen for everything, the only advantage I can see would be that my field of vision would be filled by a 30" screen, this would be less distracting. The main benifit I can detect is for the Screen manufacturers, you have one working screen and they sell you another bigger one, that costs a lot more.. perhaps with a bigger profit margin http://www.proview.net/News/News_Details.aspx?ii=2 539 [proview.net]

Not just productivity savings... (3, Interesting)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407189)

First, I find 2 or even 3 17-19 inch screens are better than one big one.

In terms of productivity there is a noticeable difference when I work in our lab with one monitor versus at my desk with 2. Especially when debugging code.

For me, however, the savings is more in paper than anything. I used to print requirements, interface documents, reference material, etc. Now with 2 monitors I can maximize the document I need on 1 screen then do the design/code stuff on the other. I have substantially reduced my paper consumption as well as other office supplies like highliters, pens, etc.

30" at what resulution? (1)

Equis (723653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407215)

What resolution do these things display?

If I'm used to 1400x1050 on my 15" laptop display, should I expect 2800x2100 on a 30" display? I don't see where the the productivity boost would be if they simply displayed 1024x768 in larger pixels.

Also, wouldn't you have to bump up the sensitivity of your mouse so you didn't have to clear off the rest of your desk to be able to reach the corners of the screen?

I'd like to debunk this 2 screen thing now (3, Funny)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407225)

I have spent four-five hours trying to get 2 screens hooked up to my linux system. So far no luck. So I figure I'll spend at least 2 more hours.
I have the 2 screens but so far I haven't been any more productive.
The screen with "Check Signal Cable" bouncing around, isn't really doing me any good right now.

Yes for CAD (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407287)

We design semiconductor chips at work. It'd be great to have enough room for a shell window or 5, the main CAD window, the design browser window, the verification window, the layer colors window, etc. rather than having to constantly cycle through a huge stack of them. Sure, we've got different virtual screens, but you still have to cycle through them too.

Unfortunately, as our large CRTs age and die, they've more recently been replaced with LCD screens, nice, but they're smaller than the old CRTs... :/

Dual Monitors (1)

gstegman (988905) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407305)

I think dual monitors makes me more productive at work. For instance now I am posting on /. checking my personal e-mail and chatting on IM all at the same time... talke about workplace efficiency!

My experience (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16407347)

Engineers who use dual-monitors are much less productive than those who use a single large monitor although I think it has more to do with the dual-monitor users having less experience. The senior-level developers almost universally prefer a single large monitor.

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