12 September 2012

Multiple monitors

Alison’s desk, featuring two portrait monitors and a smaller offset display.

Part of the fun of working for Clearly Stated is being able to specify (within limits) the hardware that I use to do my job. I’ve got two widescreen Iiyama monitors (the reason for this particular link is that we’ve been buying from Continental Monitors for some time now, and their customer service and pricing is brilliant) that I have set up in landscape view at eye level, forming a wall of images, documents and data when I’m working. Alison uses three monitors, two of the same Iiyama model in portrait mode together with a regular Philips monitor offset to the left for dealing with graphics, timetables and emails. The speed and efficiency this lends to a technical author dealing with multiple images and documents at the same time is fantastic, as it saves having to constantly flit backwards and forwards between different windows, or finding that the drawing toolbar in Framemaker has decided to hover directly over the document being crafted. With multiple monitors a technical author can fly.

My desk featuring two landscape monitors.

It hasn’t always been like this though. In my last post with the Royal Air Force of Oman, I was responsible for authoring a language textbook. This was a full colour, illustrated affair, and my employer had very nicely paid for a top of the range Mac, together with InDesign and Photoshop CS5, and as the geek on the team (there were other authors, but no-one else willing to play with the new software) it was my job to turn stuff into a presentable textbook. For about two weeks we cantered along at a reasonable pace, and then it happened. I was picking up toner cartridges from the facilities office when I saw – gathering dust – a 15” TFT monitor. I expected to have to plead, and maybe even grovel a little bit, but I was assured that “this computer doesn’t work anymore” and was allowed to take it by quizzical but helpful staff.

Two monitors! I was rich! I was flying! There was a display for graphics, images and source documents and another for the finished item... but my boss didn’t like it. It meant that I had a wall up, and from his perch on the far side of the room, I was concealed by a parapet of screens. My work-rate went up and the distrust diminished, but I do think the guy had a point. From the back multiple monitors do form a barrier, and it’s important to create an office environment where nothing is “hidden”.



  1. Great work Andrew...I could really never set up a "parapet of screens"...even when I'd love it :(

  2. Oh, and how about posting a few pictures on your blog, would love to see the two widescreen Iiyama monitors!

  3. This post is now updated with photos. As requested!

    1. Thanks Mate...awesome desk!

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