Effects of display resolution on visual performance

Hum Factors. 1998 Dec;40(4):554-68. doi: 10.1518/001872098779649355.


The role of display resolution in visual information processing was investigated in 2 experiments. Experiment 1 examined the effects of 2 CRT conditions (resolutions of 60 and 120 dots per inch [dpi]) and a paper control condition (255 dpi) on proofreading speed and accuracy. The results showed that reading performance was significantly better in the paper condition than in the 2 CRT conditions. Experiment 2 examined the effects of 3 different CRT resolutions (62, 69, and 89 dpi) on eye movement parameters (fixation duration and number of fixations) in a visual search task. Further, search reaction times (RTs) and observers' ratings of visual fatigue were analyzed. RTs and fixation durations were significantly increased in the low-resolution condition (62 dpi) as compared with the high-resolution condition (89 dpi). The significant interaction between display resolution and time both for search RTs and fixation durations was taken as evidence for stronger fatigue in the low-resolution conditions. Additionally, the extent of visual fatigue correlates both with search RTs and eye movement parameters. This finding gives rise to the assumption that observers' responsiveness to effects of display resolution in terms of visual fatigue differs markedly. Actual or potential applications of this research include recommendations for the use of high-resolution displays (90 dpi and greater) to optimize visual performance, to make prolonged on-screen viewing more comfortable, and to avoid visual fatigue.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Asthenopia*
  • Computer Terminals*
  • Data Display*
  • Humans
  • Reading*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*