One of the faster technological revolutions in process control is the use of flat screen monitors. Control rooms are now flush with flat screens of all sizes, since with the flat screens came greater ease in using large monitors. However, what is the impact of these large monitors on preferred viewing distances?
That is the question that was tackled by researchers at the University of New York at Buffalo (Shin, G. and Hegde, S. User-Preferred Position of Computer Displays: Effects of Display Size, Human Factors, Vol 52, No. 5, October, 2010, pp. 574-585). They examined the impact of four display sizes (19, 24, 27.5, and dual 19) on how the users preferred to arrange their workstation, with several interesting findings:
The article references the ANSI/Human Factors standard on the degree of horizontal head movement for the user that recommends no more than 35 degree movement to either side (American National Standards Institute/Human Factors and Ergonomics Society [2007) Human factors engineering of computer workstations (ANSI/HFES 100-2007) Santa Monica, CA]. Using this angle and the preferred display distances, it is possible to define the optimal lateral viewing distances for an operator, as shown in Figure 1. Expecting an operator to view displays greater than 37-42 laterally would violate the ANSI/HFES standard.
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