Is 4k really worth it? A mixed-methods approach to exploring the uses and benefits of high-resolution computer displays for different user populations

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Patzer, Christal
Chaparro, Barbara S.
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Advancements in display technology made it easier for manufacturers to develop and sell high-resolution displays (HRDs) to consumers, and HRDs are frequently marketed as beneficial for graphically intense tasks. Therefore, it is important to understand the tasks and user populations that actually benefit from using HRDs. Evaluating display technology's impact on user performance and perception largely focuses on three display scenarios: multi-monitors, pixel density, and large displays (greater than 34"). However, gaps exist in the body of literature. The purpose of this research was to investigate the impact of using HRDs on productivity and experience for different user populations using a mixed-methods approach. Data were collected and analyzed over three studies: (1) an online survey to identify commonly performed computer activities and the perceived benefits of using HRDs; (2) interviews of current HRD users from various user populations to explore the use cases, perceived advantages, and contributing factors of perceived benefits of using HRDs; and (3) an empirical study to compare the effects of display resolution on productivity and experience using representative tasks for two user populations: PC video gamers and digital creatives. Results from Studies 1 and 2 suggested that improvements to graphics quality, efficiency, screen real estate, and experience contributed to the advantages of using HRDs. Additionally, these results also indicated that, to empirically compare productivity and experience differences, tasks should emphasize color quality, visual clarity, small detail visibility. Results from Study 3 revealed few objective productivity improvements when using HRDs, except when searching realistic images. Participants were faster, more successful, more efficient, and less frustrated searching for small targets using high-resolution. However, subjective results demonstrated higher preference for HRDs due to better sharpness, contrast, readability, and overall impression.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology
Wichita State University
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