Large format screen or multidisplay. What offers the most benefits to the operator’s visual ergonomics?

control room with large format screen

Visual ergonomics is the multidisciplinary science concerned with understanding human visual processes and the interactions between humans and other elements of a system.

In practical terms, visual ergonomics aims to minimize visual discomfort, fatigue, and stress, thereby improving productivity and reducing the risk of visual-related problems such as eye strain, headaches, and musculoskeletal issues. This field is particularly relevant in the design of workspaces, computer interfaces, and other environments where visual tasks are performed regularly. The goal is to create visual environments that support the visual needs of individuals, taking into account both the physical and cognitive aspects of vision.

The way we work has changed radically in recent years as a large number of sources of information need to be managed and controlled simultaneously. Internet of Things and Big Data Technologies involve generating an immense amount of data on which quick and accurate decisions need to be made. That is why at GESAB we decided to develop DeskWall, a universal management platform over IP that allows to concentrate in a single device the visualization and management of several remote sources through a single keyboard and mouse on a multi-canvas.

This increase in information that must be managed on screens means that we must extend our visual workspace, which typically involves using multiple displays or one big format screen to increase the amount of information we can see at once.

While choosing best display setups, we have to consider the viewing angles of the human eye and ergonomically acceptable degrees of rotation that are comfortable for the operator.

There are specific guidelines for viewing angles and rotation to ensure comfort and reduce the risk of visual strain:

Horizontal Viewing Angle: this refers to the angle at which the operator can comfortably view content on a display from side to side. Typically, this angle is considered to be around 0 to 30 degrees off-center and beyond 30 degrees, users may start experiencing color shifts, reduced contrast, and potential discomfort.

Vertical Viewing Angle: it is the angle at which the operator can comfortably view content on a display from top to bottom. Similar to the horizontal angle, the acceptable range is often around 0 to 30 degrees and deviating too much from this range can lead to distorted colors, reduced clarity, and potential neck strain.

Tilt Angle: this is the forward or backward angle of the display. Ergonomically, it is recommended to tilt the top of the screen slightly away from the viewer to reduce glare and minimize reflections. A tilt of about 10 to 20 degrees is often considered comfortable.

Rotation or pivot angle: it refers to the ability to rotate the display horizontally. While this feature may not be applicable to all displays, it can be beneficial in certain situations. The ergonomic guideline is to keep the rotation within a range that maintains a comfortable viewing angle for the operator, typically around 0 to 30 degrees.

Distance from the Screen: it is crucial for comfortable viewing. The display should be positioned at an arm’s length away from the viewer, and the text size should be adjusted to be easily readable without straining the eyes.

Large format screens

Using one large-format screen in the workplace can offer several advantages that enhance productivity, collaboration, and overall user experience. Here are some key benefits:

• Enhanced Multitasking. Efficient multitasking is essential in many work environments and wider screens enable employees to compare data side by side, copy and paste between applications seamlessly, and view content without compromising visibility.
• Improved Focus and Concentration. A larger screen can help reduce distractions by providing a focused workspace. It allows users to concentrate on their main tasks without being overwhelmed by a cluttered desktop or multiple smaller screens.
• Great viewing experience, bigger viewing angle, stability in brightness, contrast, and colors.
• Better Visibility of Details. Larger screens provide more space for detailed work, such as video editing, graphic design, or coding. This can be especially advantageous for professionals who need to see fine details or work with complex visual elements.
• Easier Collaboration. Collaborative work can be more effective with a large-format screen because it is easier to share content, collaborate on documents, or conduct presentations when everyone can clearly see the content on a single, large display.
• Reduced Cable Clutter. Using one large monitor often requires fewer cables compared to a multi-monitor setup which can result in a cleaner and more organized workspace and simplifying cable management.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of a large-format screen depends on the nature of the work and the preferences of the individual user. Some tasks may benefit more from a single large screen, while others may require the specific advantages offered by a multi-monitor configuration.

Multidisplay setups

Less does not always mean more, and in many complex tasks that require exhaustive control of multiple sources variable multidisplay setups offer clear advantages. Thus, the possibility of easily configuring and adapting their position has an enormous effect on comfort, health and productivity.

Setting up a dual monitor setup involves considering the recommended viewing areas to ensure comfort, productivity, and ergonomic well-being for the operator.

Advantages of multidisplay setups:

• Improved Workflow. With multiple displays, users can organize their workspace to align with their workflow. For example, one display can be dedicated to communication tools, another to data analysis, and a third to project management. This customization enhances workflow efficiency.
• Enhanced Multitasking. Users can perform multiple tasks concurrently, with each display dedicated to a specific function. This is particularly beneficial for roles that require monitoring various data sources or referencing information from different applications simultaneously.
• It is possible to view several windows and sources without having to change sizes or superimpose some on others.
• It is easier to view and share documents by positioning the windows next to each other.
• Reduced Neck and Eye Strain. Properly configured multidisplay setups can contribute to better ergonomics, reducing neck strain and eye fatigue. Users can position displays at comfortable viewing angles and organize their workspace for optimal comfort.

In short, multiple displays provide us with more visual space and more processing options, in addition to greater control by the user but as with big format screens we also have to consider the preferences of each operator and the type of work that they develop in the workplace.

So, which configuration should I implement?

Developing large-format screens, curves and ultra panoramic opens up a wide range of possibilities when it comes to having a canvas where you can locate different sources of information: from the computer itself to different external applications, web services, IP video, streaming or remote desktop, all managed with a single keyboard and mouse.

DeskWall provides a large number of benefits in the corporate area, operational and personal, raising operator productivity and company profitability in the short term in addition to optimizing energy efficiency as it requires fewer monitors. Increased visual and ergonomic comfort reduces stress and reduces the risk of work conditions.

But what matters most today is not the use of a large-format screen or several screens in the same position, considering that ergonomics will be respected in both cases, but rather the visualization and source management platform that will be implemented in the operators’ positions.

Our universal DeskWall management platform can be used with both configurations since it adapts through grids to the needs of each workstation. Furthermore, the key feature of an IP-based KVM system is its ability to provide remote access and control over connected devices. Therefore, it will be essential to stop and think about what type of management will be done with the sources and how the work desks will be organized.

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