Re: justifying 21-inch monitors

Subject: Re: justifying 21-inch monitors
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:21:00 -0400

Karen Mayer wrote:
> What size monitors do you use? Are you happy
> with that?

I use a SuperMac Platinum 21, a high-resolution grayscale monitor:

21-inch --- so I can see a complete double-page spread with minimal distortion

grayscale --- since most color monitors look fuzzy to me and give me
headaches (except for a $38k video graphics workstation I saw at a recent
computer show <envy,lust,envy>)

> If you're using 21s, how did you
> manage to convince your manager that it was out of
> necessity, not decadence, that they were requested?

Since I -am- my manager, this wasn't an issue <grin>. However, I've used
the following strategy to convince a client to let me work offsite with my
own equipment instead of onsite with their 17-inch color monitors.

The project was to (a) update a series of documents and (b) transfer them
to FrameMaker. The client had never used off-site contractors before and
was concerned about 'monitoring productivity.'

On Friday, I took home a representative chunk of the project, and spent 7
hours designing the FrameMaker template and entering/editing text.

On Saturday, I arranged to spend 8 hours on site doing the same tasks for
another document (different purpose, therefore different templates needed).
I arranged for the extra hour because of the additional breaks I need to
prevent eyestrain when working with a color monitor.

Because it was on the weekend, there were no interruptions, no phone calls,
very little background noise, and no other workers to slow down the network
--- in short, environmental conditions were as similar to my home office as
possible. The major difference was the monitor.

I spent approximately the same amount of time on the design phases, since
the documents were of roughly equal complexity. But I got almost 20% more
text entered/edited using the larger monitor. Why?
(1) I could see both ends of two adjacent pages at once --- no scrolling.
(2) I could constantly monitor spacing and visual balance. I didn't need
to stop and print to see -exactly- what I was getting on a double-page
(3) The higher resolution display made it easier to scan for errors, so I
could do my proofreading onscreen.

Since they had committed to pay me by the hour (I insist on that for onsite
contracts --- there are too many things they can do to waste my time), the
potential 20% savings convinced them. Maybe you can arrange a similar test
with your typical workload. Most managers will pay attention to real data.

Hope this helps,

@Kat_____ Kat Nagel
MasterWork Consulting Services Rochester, NY
LIFE1 (techwriting/docdesign) katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
LIFE2 (vocal chamber music) PlaynSong -at- aol -dot- com

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