Video Terminal Operation Tips
Digital Equipment Corporation was one of the first computer manufacturers to offer a
commercially-available video display terminal. Over the years, our experience has taught
us a great deal about how to design good video terminals and how terminals should be
integrated into the workplace.
Today, computer terminals are being taken out of computer rooms and labs and brought
into offices to be used as a powerful tool for an easy and efficient way to do office
work. Just as other tools have improved other jobs, terminals will improve office work, if
properly used and installed. Digital has paid careful attention to ergonomic needs in
design and manufacture of its computer terminals. To make the best use of ergonomic tools
and features built into its equipment, Digital encourages you to use the information
provided in this appendix in incorporating video display terminals into your work
General Rules for Video Terminal Use
To keep yourself comfortable during a prolonged workday, you should note the following
workstation design considerations:
- Make sure your seat promotes good posture through proper seat height and lumbar
- Keep multiple reading surfaces at about the same distance from your eyes.
- Adjust your seat height, tilt the video screen or the screen height to keep your
- Start with an evenly lighted and well-lighted working area. This should minimize
reflections and glare. Also, try to work in an area with little noise and other
- Your workstation layout should enable you to relax your eyes periodically by looking
at an object some distance away from the screen.
- Keep frequently used items within comfortable reach (within 58 centimeters/2 feet) and
adjust your working position periodically to relax.
Most offices are lighted for doing paperwork, not for operating video terminals.
Dimmers and individual light adjustments make working a video terminal easier. Lights in
and around the work area should be placed so that they minimize your eye's adjustment to
different light levels.
Some lighting suggestions are:
- If your work area has a window, place the video terminal at a right angle to it.
- Directly lighting the video display causes reflections and glare, and should be
avoided. Instead, adjust your terminal's brightness controls for comfortable viewing.
- Position the screen to avoid reflection and glare, perhaps with a tilt/swivel
- Use filters on your video screen to help reduce glare and reflections.
- If directly lighting a document, place the light so that it does not create glare and
reflections on nearby surfaces or on the screen.
- Have the light coming from the side or behind you to avoid lights shining directly
into your eyes (and onto the screen.)
- Keep the light levels on all work surfaces equal.
- Use diffusers over any glaring lights.
- Place lighting so that it does not reflect on the video screen. An angle at least 30
degrees above work surfaces and video screen will usually accomplish this.
- Eliminate shiny or polished work surfaces.
Avoiding Physical Discomforts
Avoid possible physical discomforts like eye fatigue and neck, shoulder, arm, or back
- Adjusting furniture for correct and comfortable posture.
- Reducing screen reflection and glare.
- Taking occasional rest breaks.
For more tips on using computers and video display terminals in your work area,
contact Digital's Human Factors Group through your sales representative.