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volume 10 number 5 may 2005 TipSheet

Welcome to the May issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll This month we'll discuss Dual Video Monitors.

Tip 553   DUAL MONITORS Category:   GRAPHICS

Like me, you've probably seen information about dual monitors and skipped over it. But recently I had a chance to try the setup, and now I'm a firm convert. My new setup consists of two 17" LCD monitors with a dual head ATI Radeon 9200 128MB video card which replaced a single 19" CRT, and results in approximately twice the screen real estate.

While doing research for this tip, I came across a study released in October 2003 by ATI, NEC-Mitsubishi, and the University of Utah entitled Productivity and Multi-Screen Displays, that showed beyond any reasonable doubt how good dual-head video could make a significant positive difference in the workplace.

The study results show that respondents increased their errorless production by 18 percent using multi-screen configurations. Additionally, multi-monitor configurations can positively impact employee morale, making users feel more comfortable with their ability to complete tasks by allowing for quick navigation and higher task focus. Participants in the study considered multi-screen configurations significantly more useful than single screens and preferred multiple monitor setups on every measure of usability. They found them 29 percent more effective for tasks, 24 percent more comfortable to use in tasks and found it 39 percent easier to move around sources of information. The Move Toward Multi-Monitor Computing Organizations can realize significant gains in productivity by simply implementing multiple monitor computing in any situation where multiple screens of information are an ordinary part of daily work. Compared to other technology upgrades, multi-monitor computing has an extremely low learning curve and does not require the significant training investment that companies typically face when implementing a new technology. Task efficiencies resulting from multi-monitor computing is apparent in a number of application conditions. The act of transferring edits from one draft to another is made simple in a multi-screen configuration where the two documents can be arranged in parallel configuration so that both texts are in full view without any reduction in size. The user can easily confirm the placement of edits through direct observations. Large spreadsheets can be viewed across all the screens in their entirety, allowing the data entry operator to track the proper row of entry. This allows spreadsheets to be accessed completely and manipulated with a full view of the results. Even seemingly simple tasks like proofreading are enhanced by multi-screen displays and eliminate the need to print pages of copy by editing directly in slide, spreadsheet and text applications.

The study examines how multiple monitor configurations increase user productivity and usability. Traditionally used by professionals in the financial or graphics industry, multi-monitor computing is becoming an affordable and effective solution to the increasingly demanding computing scenarios faced by employees in mainstream corporate America. Providing users with the ability to access more information and images simultaneously, multiple monitor configurations allow for more efficient multi-tasking between applications. "The study reveals multi-screen users get on task quicker, work faster and get more work done with fewer errors editing documents, spreadsheets, and graphic files in comparison with single screen users," said Dr. James Anderson, professor at the University of Utah's Department of Communication. "The technology required to support multi-monitor computing is not only affordable, it has become standard within operating systems and LCD displays. Multiple monitor configurations are poised to become the new standard in the workplace." By enabling users to work between multiple applications and resolving the need to view and process a multitude of information sources simultaneously, multiple monitor configurations allow users to move and size a variety of information and images across any or all screens to increase productivity. Overall respondents in the study were 10 percent more productive using multiple monitor set ups. Multi-monitor computing can impact a company's ROI, when considering the value of errorless work.

Copyright 2005, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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