Usability and... salary? this [2006-08-01]

The latest alertbox column by Jakob Nielsen talks about web design and screen resolution. The advice given is to optimize the design for a 1024x768 screen resolution, as this is the most widely used screen size.

My own access stats says 46% use 1024x768. I'm not sure how valid my numbers are - the sample is too small. 1024x768 sounds pretty old and dated to me. Is it at all possible to buy displays with that kind of low resolution (except in laptops)? The recent numbers for this blog:
scrren resolution stats

Later in the column Nielsen talks about newer and larger screens. Large is good, meaning faster/easier. What I found strange in the column was this sentence:

"Big monitors are the easiest way to increase white-collar productivity, and anyone who makes at least $50,000 per year ought to have at least 1600x1200 screen resolution."

I read it again and again, but it just doesn't make sense. A larger screen would mean faster work I guess. Is he talking about some kind of productivity measure, time spent on a work task in relation to your salary? It still doesn't make sense. If you get a 10% productivity gain by using the larger screen, shouldn't you then make $55,000 per year? How is this different for someone that only makes $30,000 per year? He/she should get a 1400x1100 display? I don't get it.
Or was it meant to say that someone making 'as little as 50,000' ought to get a larger display in order to be more productive? Or is there some new kind of definition of usability that takes salary into the equation? Does it, at all, make sense to bring salary into the discussion of productivity?

Nielsen says he uses a 2048x1536 display. If you count the total number of pixels, this would indicate – based on the $50,000/year = 1600x1200 recommendation – he makes about $82,000 per year; if you only look to the horizontal resolution he makes no more than $64,000 per year. I think the usabilitu guru ought to upgrade his display to match his salary better! He easily makes six figures I'm sure.

I use a dual-monitor setup, each with a 1280x1024 resolution. I have too much screen space with regards to my salary... ;-)

Prev Next