FAQ

What types of monitors does your workforce need?

What types of monitors will make your workforce happiest and most efficient?

This question is vital because the monitor -- together with the keyboard and mouse -- shapes the user's experience of his or her computer.

Tests have shown repeatedly that larger screens increase productivity by allowing workers to see more of their work at once. These days, 17-inch LCDs form the entry-level purchase for desktop PCs, but many workers will get more done in the same timeframe when using larger monitors. LCDs need far less space and use significantly less power than CRTs, so given that the prices of the two are now close, there is little reason to buy CRTs anymore.

About the author
Guy Hart-Davis is the author of CNET Do-It-Yourself PC Upgrade Projects, How to Do Everything: Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and more than 40 other computer books. He specializes in PCs and Windows, Macs and Mac OS X, and VBA.

These days, few companies of any size can give everyone from receptionist to VP the same kind of monitor. Typically, you'll be looking at several grades of monitors -- for example:

  • General employee: General computing and data entry, typically using one window at a time. Recommendation: 17-inch LCD.
  • Knowledge worker: Needs to see the contents of multiple windows at once. Recommendation: 19-inch to 24-inch LCD, preferably widescreen.
  • Specialist worker: Key players such as your graphics designers, Web designers, electronic layout specialists and programmers will benefit from having more screen real estate to spread their work over. Recommendation: 23-inch or larger LCD. Some specialists may require two or more large LCDs.

Ensure the customer understands the rapid return on investment that large monitors offer. You can shave $100 or more off the cost of a PC by specifying a smaller monitor, but the cost to the customer in reduced productivity will exceed that within weeks -- and both users and the customer will lose out through this short-term decision.


This was first published in August 2008

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