[kwlug-disc] [OT] single moniter >> dual monitors

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Wed Jan 13 22:53:21 EST 2010

On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 02:09:39PM -0500, Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
> I've always been curious about dual monitor setups, and hear lots of  
> good things about them, but haven't seen one live yet.  However - here's  
> a study by NEC that says in many cases 1 bigger monitor is as good or  
> better than 2 monitors. 
> http://www.necdisplay.com/Gowide/NEC_Productivity_Study_0208.pdf

Note that there is a significant flaw in this experiment: it only
measures productivity in an unfamiliar setup (because the subjects
were presented with one of the three random setups, and then they were
asked to complete some unknown tasks right away). 

This is a common approach to HCI research, but it only measures
initial productivity. Initial productivity at a task might correlate
to final productivity, but it is not guaranteed to do so. What you
really care about is how productive people are with different setups
after they have used them (and customized them) to the point of
personal comfort. 

This is a pet peeve of mine because it biases interfaces towards
"beginner-friendly" designs. Anybody who has used vim, mutt, or the
command-line know that these tools are not particularly
beginner-friendly. But many people who get over that learning hump
grow to appreciate it to the point where they find beginner-friendly
interfaces restrictive and frustrating.

- Paul

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