How thoughtfully designed displays can improve UX

A monitor displaying a photo of a city
I migliori monitor per PC del 2023 (Image credit: Future / BenQ)

Our reliance on screens has become an undeniable aspect of modern life. According to reports from the US (DataReportal, 2022), UK (Vision Direct, 2021) and China (Statista, 2020), people spend an average of seven hours per day looking at screens and it is projected to increase.

While screens come in many sizes and forms, we've seen incredible progress in recent years with external monitors that advance productivity and improve user experience. Today's monitors not only elevate the visual experience, but also improve functionality. Furthermore, to support the end-user, energy conscious power consumption (i.e. brightness control, customized LED solutions, etc.) and sustainable design with ergonomic features provide a positive experience.

Low blue light and ergonomics are the answer

Research from the National Library of Medicine revealed that 90% of those who spend more than 3 hours a day in front of a screen suffer from a common temporary condition called computer vision syndrome or CVS, which can include digital eye strain, visual fatigue and more. A cause of CVS is blue light radiation and to help address it, monitors are now designed with Natural Low Blue Light technology to help reduce eye fatigue.

When selecting a monitor, users should ensure it meets industry standard benchmarks such as EyeSafe Display Standard and TÜV Rheinland. EyeSafe Display Standard is an industry-leading benchmark approved by internationally recognized physicians in eyecare for low blue light safety in digital displays, while TÜV Rheinland tests technical systems and products around the world according to international standards. With smart integration of hardware and software, light energy can be managed at the source by selectively reducing blue light, producing a more natural color experience compared to displays that only rely on software.

Beyond eye fatigue, neck pain is also a common side effect of increased screen usage. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, neck pain has become a prevalent public health problem for the general population of students and knowledge workers. Additionally, a survey conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association showed that 65% of Americans have experienced neck pain or discomfort due to poor posture while using technology. Tech shouldn’t be a pain in the neck and new ergonomic designs coupled with features such as swivel and pivot functionalities can increase monitor versatility, giving people of all heights the ability to adjust viewing angles.

George Toh

George Toh is VP and GM for Lenovo’s Visuals Business, Intelligent Devices Group.

Advanced monitor features are essential

With the rise of remote and hybrid work, as well as the increasing need for multitasking, having a reliable and efficient monitor setup is now more important than ever. Modern monitor designs are evolving to meet these needs, offering a range of functionalities to improve productivity and streamline workflows.

Whether working on one or more displays, the following features are quickly becoming standards that can help users get more done in less time:

  • Daisy Chain: One of the most popular setups, 'daisy chaining' connects multiple monitors (up to four QHD monitors) to a PC using one cable chain, significantly reducing cable clutter. With this setup, monitors connect to each other instead of directly to your PC, eliminating the need for multiple out ports.
  • Split Screens: An alternative to using multiple displays, ‘split screens’ divide a large ultrawide monitor into two visible displays, giving users the flexibility and convenience of independently adjust settings and aspect ratios.
  • Multi-Device Control: Users who need to access two PC sources (i.e., a laptop and a desktop) can do so with a single monitor via a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch. This feature allows users to easily toggle between two sources, controlling both via a single mouse and keyboard, and without the need to manually switch cables.

Efficient power and sensor tech are the future of sustainable monitor use

Increased screen usage often equals increased power needs. Furthermore, uneven power consumption can have a significant impact on PC and screen performance and efficiency, particularly with legacy designs that struggle to keep up with the demands of a modern user. By incorporating smarter power and sensor technology into displays, it is now possible to streamline power distribution between devices.

An example of this is built-in technology that can dynamically detect power consumption of compatible USB-C devices and reallocate power to the devices connected to the monitor. This helps prioritize power allocation and delivery, reduce overall consumption while enabling better management and optimization, and is key for the user experience since it saves energy in the long run.

Smart sensor technology can also help save energy through Ambient light and Human detection. Ambient light sensors can be programmed to reduce display brightness based on the light in the surrounding environment while human detection sensors can determine if the display should remain on or asleep based on user movement and presence. The adaptability to the constantly changing power needs of monitors in various user scenarios can reduce power consumption, eliminate manual brightness adjustments, and extend the lifespan of a monitor.

For users looking to further reduce one’s carbon footprint, choosing monitors made with more sustainable materials is now a viable option. Monitors are now available with plastic-free packaging and are made of post-consumer recycled content (PCC), including PCC aluminum and PCC acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

Transforming the user experience

The evolution of user needs and behaviors continues to drive changes in monitor design. Features such as Natural Low Blue Light, improved ergonomics, smarter power and sensor technologies provide a more comfortable and efficient user experience.

As technology continues to evolve, it’s clear that future monitors will be even more purposefully designed and user-centric. The tech industry as a whole is prioritizing user wellbeing through ergonomics and technology, as well as functionality through versatility. All in all, human-centered innovation based on user needs will continue to lead the way.

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George Toh is VP and GM for Lenovo’s Visuals Business, Intelligent Devices Group. He helps lead the development of cutting-edge monitors and display solutions that enhance people’s personal and professional experiences.