There’s so much that separates digital signage from the boring print materials we’ve all seen for decades. It’s fresh, it’s reactive, it’s aesthetically pleasing.
But as we move away from more traditional marketing mediums, it’s important to keep in mind what those printed photos did well. And, surprisingly enough, one of their best qualities is that they stand totally still.
It sounds silly to say, but in case we all needed a reminder: Print photos don’t move. They remain nice and flat, meaning that if a customer is enjoying taking a look, there’s no risk that the image is suddenly going to disappear.
That’s also important if a customer is reading text. Sure, “SALE!” speaks for itself, but what about more detailed information about a promotion or a new product? You don’t want shoppers to be mid-sentence when the text whooshes away.
While the ability to add animation to digital signage is undoubtedly an asset, it’s really, really easy to go wrong. Motion graphics can range from distracting and obnoxious to confusing and disorienting. They can completely derail a display’s entire intention.
Over at Sprinklr, the team was initially a bit too jazzed about animation. After a bit of trial and error, they realized that while some subtle motion enhances the message, it’s got to have purpose. Photos and text shouldn’t bounce around for no reason. Everything that happens on screen should feel intentional and relevant.
Justin Garrity, Sprinklr’s VP of User Research and Display, pointed out that when digital signage screens are constantly moving with animation, they become less pleasing to the eye -- and the camera. People are constantly snapping photos, and a mid-animation shot of a display can totally hide the great marketing materials it’s hosting.
“If you can take a photo with a screen in the background, and it makes a good photo, you know you have the screen right,” Justin said. He added that no one should have to explain later on, “Oh, if you’d seen it, you’d know how it works.” Digital signage should be understandable and attractive no matter what’s currently on screen.
The idea of looking great in photos doesn’t just apply to animation. It also means that no matter what’s happening on the screen, it shouldn’t be unclear what it’s promoting. Maybe that means there’s always a visible logo somewhere, or perhaps all the content adheres to a recognizable color scheme.
Digital signage is like a new piece of statement decor for your business. You wouldn’t display a table that completely clashes with the whole room, and the same attitude should apply to your screens. Be sure to keep your animation subtle and your message clear.