Portrait Vs Landscape

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I’ve been very busy for the last few months in my new job but will be presenting at a couple of conferences in the Summer. In the meantime, here’s a short thought to share…

When writing, people think in paper shape.

So why is it all our whiteboards are mounted in landscape?

Hang them up them portrait-style and panel them along a wall.

Just try it – portrait mounted whiteboards make a much better tool.

In my time working for a large multinational I led much of the design and layout work for redeveloping the office space at one of our sites to support agile teams. As part of this I reviewed and improved our available wall and whiteboard space.

As an experiment in one of the boardroom style rooms I arrange to have 3 large whiteboards mounted portrait style as 3 connected panels.  They proved significantly more effective than normal boards and became some of the most heavily-used whiteboards in the building. As a result I replicated the same setup across as many other rooms as would accommodate them.

I can’t tell you why others liked them but from my own experience I found working in multiple portrait-format significantly easier than landscape. It allowed focus areas and footnotes in a way that a pair of normal whiteboards in the same space didn’t. This helped me arrange thoughts more cohesively with a natural information flow that landscape boards didn’t offer. They also worked as natural extra-large swim lanes during workshops and allowed multiple team members to work side-by-side on related aspects of a workshop.

It’s hard to remember all the benefits on a Friday afternoon. They just “felt” nicer, different, better.

Give this a try and share your experiences here.


One thought on “Portrait Vs Landscape

  1. I have two whiteboards behind my desk, one of which is vertical. I like it, because I think it is easier to use the surface completely, but there is one thing that can cause problem : the vertical span is so big that I have to extend on my toe to reach the top and kneel before it to reach the lower part. People think I pray at my graphs…

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