Female architects, designers, trainee pilots and even computer gamers should be given much wider computer screens, a team of computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington, told a computer usability conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last week. Wider screens and more realistic 3D animations, they say, will boost women’s spatial orientation and 3D map-reading skills to match those of their male counterparts.



It may sound like sexual prejudice, but it seems that men’s much-debated ability to navigate slightly better than women applies in virtual environments as well as the real world. And on average, says Microsoft computer scientist Mary Czerwinski, men are quicker to create a mental map of an environment and orient themselves within it.

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