The Effects of Curving Large, High-Resolution Displays on User Performance

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Date
2006-07-18
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Tiling multiple monitors to increase the amount of screen space has become an area of great interest to researchers. While previous research has shown user performance benefits when tiling multiple monitors, little research has analyzed whether much larger high-resolution displays result in better user performance. The work in this paper evaluates user performance on an even larger, twenty-four monitor, high-resolution (96 DPI), high pixel-count (approximately 32 million pixels) display for single-users in both flat and curved forms. The first experiment compares user performance time, accuracy, and mental workload on multi-scale geospatial search, route tracing, and comparison tasks across one, twelve (4x3), and twenty-four (8x3) tiled monitor configurations. Using the same tasks, we evaluated conditions that uniformly curve the twelve and twenty-four monitor displays. Results show that, depending on the task, larger viewport sizes improve performance time with less user frustration. Findings also reveal that curving large displays improves performance time as users interacted with less strenuous physical navigation on the curved conditions.

A second study sought to understand why curving the display, effectively bringing all pixels into visible range, improved performance so as to provide guidelines for using such large displays. The study tested for region biases, performance gaps in comparing virtually distant objects, and degree of detail of user insights while measuring the physical navigation required. Results clearly show that significantly less movement is required when physically navigating the curved display. Performance measures reveal that users favor the left regions of the flat display, while there appears to be no region bias on the curved display. Furthermore, user performance time increased as the virtual distance between objects increased, and there is a tradeoff in insight detail between the two forms. In conclusion, larger, high-resolution displays improve user performance, and curving such displays further improves performance, removing any biases towards regions of the display, potentially reducing the performance drop of virtually far apart objects, reducing the amount of physical navigation necessary, and enabling more detailed insights. Based on these findings, one should always curve multiple monitor displays for single users, and if space is an issue, start curving once the display reaches four or five monitors wide.

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viewport size, curvature, reconfigurable display, large tiled display, high-resolution, geospatial, ergonomics, evaluation
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