Chris North


Physical monitors require space, lack flexibility, and can become expensive and less portable in large setups. Virtual monitors, on the other hand, can minimize those problems, but may be subject to technological limitations such as lower resolution and field of view. We investigate the impacts of using virtual monitors displayed on a current state-of-the-art augmented reality headset for conducting productivity work. We conducted a user study that compared physical monitors, virtual monitors, and a hybrid combination of both in terms of performance, accuracy, comfort, focus, preference, and confidence. Results show that virtual monitors are a feasible approach for performing serious productivity work, albeit currently constrained by technical limitations that lead to inferior usability and performance compared to physical monitors. We also discovered that, with current technology, the hybrid condition was a better tradeoff between the familiarity and trustworthiness of physical monitors and the extra space provided by virtual monitors. We conclude by expressing the opportunity for designing strategies for mixing virtual and physical monitors into novel hybrid interfaces.

Leonardo Pavanatto Soares, Chris North, Doug A. Bowman, Carmen Badea, Richard Stoakley: Do we still need physical monitors? An evaluation of the usability of AR virtual monitors for productivity work. VR 2021: 759-767


Chris North

Publication Details

Date of publication:
May 10, 2021
IEEE Annual International Symposium Virtual Reality
Page number(s):