What is the best way to set up the customer's monitors?
Setting up monitors tends to be an awkward struggle between the personal and the professional. Many users insist on monitor positions that send ergonomic experts reeling with horror.
Start by following ergonomic guidelines for positioning the monitor. For example, position the top of the monitor level with the user's eye line and at a distance of around 24 inches from the user. Explain the guidelines, but allow the user to reposition the monitor for her comfort within reason.
You can set a CRT to any resolution it supports. However, you should ensure that the refresh rate is high enough that the user does not experience flicker when looking at the monitor. A refresh rate of 75 Hz is adequate for smaller CRTs, but larger CRTs typically require 85 Hz or faster.
LCD monitors don't exhibit flicker, so this isn't a concern -- simply set the LCD's recommended refresh rate. But you must set an LCD monitor to its native resolution (check the documentation), or else the screen will appear blocky and hard to read. If the user finds on-screen elements too small to read comfortably, use Windows' ease-of-access features to increase the size. In extreme cases, consult the customer about providing the user with a lower-resolution monitor of the same size, on which elements will appear larger.
This was first published in August 2008