Your digital signage is finally ready to go and your content management system is stocked full of content. Unfortunately, your self-celebration is quickly silenced by the lack of audience engagement. In fact, no one seems to notice the signs at all. What gives?
If you’re like the vast majority of those who implement digital signage, you’re not a designer. If that’s the case, you have to acknowledge the harsh reality of the situation, your slides are repelling your audience’s attention. Just because your content is being fed through a screen doesn’t mean everyone will automatically connect and engage. Think of how you quickly avert your gaze from mediocre-at-best advertisements on the subway, so too do the people in your workplace.
You’re probably asking yourself, “what is so wrong with my design?” I’ll answer the question for you. Your first mistake is you didn’t actually consider design at all. Sure, you might put the right message and images on your slide, but those assets alone do not create an engaging visual. Let’s take it back a step--
Your content is made up of two essential pieces: the message and the design. Both are vital in trying to reach your audience. A typical problem for users is that their messages aren’t being read by their audience. A strong design can eliminate this situation by giving your message a visual package that excites consumers enough to explore.
46.1% of people say a company’s design is the number one criterion for discerning their credibility. If a company’s content looks messy, consumers assume the same of their products and services. Good design not only organizes the mess but can also add a noticeable finishing touch. When your desk is organized and clean, it's much easier to find your keys rather than when you have to sift through stacks of paper and the remains of yesterday's lunch.
Graphic design works the same way: it helps viewers digest the information while putting in minimal effort. Okay, next question:
When you have endless flexibility for content creation like digital signage, the design is the science that crafts and harnesses your message. Keep in mind that you’re designing content for large screens or kiosks, not a desktop computer. Create for the environment. Don’t focus on creating an award-winning design, instead keep the following principles in mind. Use a design that makes your message understandable, a design that is unobtrusive, and a design that is honest.
Visual thinking happens faster than text-based thinking, with digital signage, this is a vital detail. The message should already be narrowed down to the essentials: the who, what, where, when, or why. The visual elements, too, should be set up in a way that helps viewers easily understand the message. The design should not get in the way of the message, rather it should support the message in a visually appealing manner.
Digital signage is a powerful tool for communication, its ability to attract, engage, and retain audiences of all types is unparalleled. However, if your content is bland or confusing, the messages will go right over your viewers' heads. By creating content that is aesthetic, concise, refreshed, and entertaining, your digital signage will be a hit. Spend a little extra time learning design basics, so your slides will capture the attention of your audience.
It's not an exact science, but if you have a good intuition for communication, you're ahead of the game. As you read this blog, you'll see that these tips are not only common sense, but are utilized almost every aspect of the digital mediums we use each day.
Did you ever see a handwritten sign taped to a wall? It looks rushed and sloppy, and no matter the message, it often has a negative connotation. (Ex. ‘Don’t touch. Wet paint.’) Compare that sign to a well laid out design piece, and the emotional effect is the exact opposite of the first.
The same rules apply to digital design; you don’t want sloppy, negative content on your signage. These simple tricks will keep your signs lively and entertaining. Be sure to check out the next design blog, featuring the Top Design Mistakes in Digital Signage.
Industry Weapon provides content programs that help digital signage users to fill in the gaps between organization's messages, entertain, and engage audiences when you don’t have time to make these campaigns yourself. As for the campaigns that you do have time to create, just keep these rules in mind. By following these guidelines, your digital signage will attract more viewers and increase your organization’s communications.
We recently switched our lobby video wall from just a directory to a directory that also displays news and weather elements. Since then, our viewership has greatly increased. Relevant content is extremely important. Not everyone is interested in your business’s news, but everyone enjoys being up to date with current events.
If the message is lost, what is the point? Here’s a tip of the trade-- look at your content for 3 seconds. Did you see the message you want your audience to receive? If not, you may need to rethink your efforts. Most viewers will only glance at your content, rather than stand there and soak it all in. Think of your digital signs as billboards. Limit campaigns to one idea and keep text to two short sentences.
In fact, keeping your posts below 250 characters can get you 60% more engagement than you might otherwise see. Use multiple slides to communicate if one isn’t enough, rather than squashing everything onto one.
A vital piece of keeping digital signage entertaining is keeping the content fresh and updated. If you don’t have a new message, at least change the appearance of the campaign to keep people looking at the screen. Simply rearrange the components of the campaign or change the images and colors.
Images speak in volumes to viewers. Using photography to enhance your message could be the difference that makes audience engage and receive your message, rather than ignoring it. If you don’t have access to your own pictures, stock photography sites have millions of images to choose from in every category imaginable.
If you have limited funds try Creative Commons, they offer a ton of user-generated images, many of which are free to the public. Just remember not to go overboard, your message is still number one.
Adding motion can help grab attention for longer spans of time. This can be done a few different ways: Adding subtle motion to secondary elements, while leaving the main message static, can draw more attention to your message.
If your message is too long, taking the message(s) and create a video or animated clip that will increase your viewer’s dwell time. It gets better, according to Online Publishers Association, 80% of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 days.
Interactive kiosks, displays, and tablets provide an unparalleled depth and richness that lures viewers to your messaging. The beauty of interactivity is the control your audience has in choosing the information they wish to consume.
The more they explore content through touch, the more engaged they become, creating a valued and entertaining experience. Touchscreen capabilities enhance directories, way-finding, endless aisle shopping, social media integrations, and much more.
Always include a call to action with your message: what do you want your target audience to do with the information you are posting? Respond? Repost/share the info? Let them know exactly what to do so that they can get involved. (Ex. Like us on Facebook.) If there isn’t a direct action to take, at least point your viewers to where they can learn more about the topic of your message. (Ex. Learn more on our Intranet.)
Good news! Industry Weapon provides content prescriptions to entertain and engage audiences when you don’t have time to make these campaigns yourself. If you’re interested in learning how to strategize these content elements, watch the Audience Engagement Framework.