Research on user errors with multiple screens?

30 Jul 2008 - 8:51am
8 years ago
1 reply
730 reads

Sorry if this is a bit of an esoteric request but I'm hoping someone
can help - I'm not even sure what keywords to use for these searches.
(All the results I get back are talking about multiple windows in
standard desktop OSes or applications. It's even more frustrating
because people are inconsistent in what they call a 'screen' or

I'm looking for research on rates, types, and descriptions of errors
made by people who have work environments with multiple screens. In
the domain where I work (financial services) it's common for people to
have two side-by-side displays and some people have as many as six
(often stacked 3 wide by 2 high).

I've begun working in such an environment myself, having two
side-by-side screens and I observe that I make a number of errors in
this format that I do not make in single-screen situations. For
example, it's VERY common for me to shift my gaze and mental focus
from one screen to another and begin typing as though the
cursor/window focus had followed my gaze.

Informally I feel like I make this category of error much more often
than I make the comparable error with two windows side-by-side on one
physical screen. But of course informal self-observation isn't highly
reliable data. So as a designer I wonder if there are such data that
would aid me in designing better multiple-screen interfaces.

References or ideas would be greatly appreciated.



30 Jul 2008 - 10:03am
Dave Malouf

I have nothing but encouragement.
It is soooo hard to get developers to take this issue on as something
that needs to be designed and built for. I have seen BIG products with
obvious multi-screen use cases (palette and canvase, eg.) that don't
take this on.

So kudos!!!!

Maybe look up people who have done studies on Bloomberg terminals
like the folks who did the redesigns for Portfolio magazine recently.
Or Antenna Design's work.

-- dave

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