For the first time in my adult life, I had homework todo. Assigned by blogger extraordinaire Matt Birchler. It wasn’t instructed or anything, but the notion of exploring opinions is fascinating, and desktop usage is a huge talking point as the iPad turns 10.
What I feel is at the heart of most of the arguments is how, and what people do with their computer. It could be your phone, tablet or a more traditional setup, but what you have done with yours up until now will always feel like the best way, and you presume everyone else does the same as you.
I was in prime position to have a look into Matts thoughts on desktop usage seeing as I can wander around my building and see more than 100 desktops used for various jobs, and note down some thoughts.
This is true of my wife, my friends, and my co-workers at my three most recent jobs. I’ve been the weirdo who has 4 apps up across 2 monitors! The image at the top of this post is the most common setup I see from our devs, and below is what I typically have going. - Matt Birchler
My findings are unsurprising to me but maybe for some people as I have found that there isn’t a ‘most people do x’ statement to make. The majority of the staff observed were using a single monitor with windowed programs open. When conducting a single task such as calling a customer or updating our CRM, their primary application is always in full screen - this never wavers.
However, once this task is done, all minimised this window to reveal at least one floating window (the vast majority of the time it’s Outlook) or usually two or three.
When looking at those running multiple screens - you can presume these are more technical staff. Developers, IT support, marketing (me) and also project management, one screen was always a full window with some task management going on. We don’t use Slack, but there is an ever-present floating Window of Outlook, and then others with add-hoc information in floating windows. Not once did I observe staff using more than one full-screen window at a time - which was surprising.
When I think about my usage, I Only ever use an app in full screen if that is my focus. Usually Illustrator or Indesign, and then typically have 2-3 other floating windows on a second screen. These are traditionally Dropbox, Notes, Todoist and sometimes the web.
Homework Completed A+.