Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Digital Signage 101 - Content: Show, don't tell... the importance of graphic content with DS

-Deacon Wardlow
Somewhere along the line, someone didn't take into consideration the unique aspect of a digital medium and (more importantly) how it's supposed to be used. A digital menu board isn't just the menu on an LCD or other HD screen with some animations. A digital menu board is a visual diorama of what's available, the cost, and options. The best example I've seen of this is in Japan with the plastic food.

A visit to Japan will net you amazing and eye-opening experiences and one of them is the plastic food. Items displayed at the restaurant entrance which are eerily exactly WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), down to the sheen on the soup. Amazing, simple, to-the-point, and just what I want as food is such a visual thing to begin with. Why is this not catching on with our DS systems?

LED Sign systems tend to be more in-line and "get it" than interior (or some exterior) HD displays (meaning LCD, OLED, other...). Partially this is because the average viewing time is somewhere between 3-6 seconds as a driver goes by an LED Sign. Short viewing times mean the message has to be brief, impactful, and memorable. Regardless of the location or image quality, all DS should be like this. Brief - impactful - memorable.

If someone wants to know more about a given food item, they'll ask. Entice them with images and price and let the DS display be as impactful as possible. Whether it's a chicken filet sandwhich or information about new dental services - a DS systems needs to be designed in such a way as to grab the viewers' attention and be successful at whatever the DS objective is.

Want to reduce perceived wait times? - Quick fun and quirky trivia (with pics if possible).
Digital Menu Board? - Show food and prices with special items animated (especially if the "special item" is something that needs to be sold out ASAP)
C-Store/gas station? - Highlight lunch specials, the new milkshake machine, free 72 hour refills on soda w/receipt and special cup, etc.
Airport - Show a map highlighting where a person is and which flights are going out at which gates - maybe even a path to the gate with special mention of food/drink/stores along the way...

As Scott pointed out in last week's article, we say too much and end up losing the message. With DS the important emphasis should be on SHOWING, not tellling the important details of the message you're looking to convey. By simplifying the message and cleaning up the clutter, you'll achieve your DS goals faster and better than before.

Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (, please check it out when you have a moment. Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically noted.

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