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By multi-monitor I mean systems which arrive out of the box with several physical monitors, each with predefined functionality. These are usually industrial systems running their own software.

This type of systems raises interesting questions, such as - do we duplicate important stuff on all the screens? Do we gray out all screens to display a modal dialog on one of them? Do we create a hierarchy of screen "importance" or are they equal? Etc.

There is some research on this from the ergonomics perspective but I'm looking for more of a UX-oriented work.

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recently I found a presentation deck exploring issues in Designing Applications for Multiple Monitor Setups that should address some of your questions. It's from 2017 by studio "Design for Context".

Presentation covers topics such us:

  • Perceptual issues in Multi-screen environments
  • App usage patterns (Researcher, Multitasker, Deep diver etc.)
  • How to organize and group windows
  • Layout and navigation patterns
  • Handling updates on windows out of the view
  • And many other topics.

I'm confident you'll at least find inspiration for how to handle certain issues.

Here is the link for the presentation: Split Focus: Designing Applications for Multiple Monitor Setups

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