Digital signage has become one of the best ways to provide effective, efficient communications with everyone in a company. It’s the digital equivalent of the cork board in the break room or in the dorm’s main area. But it’s a lot better. Let’s explore some tips on how to master digital signage. As well as how to make the most out of the content on your displays.
Effective digital signage has to take a lot more factors into account. There is a type of art to communications if you want your posts to be effective.
Content needs to be carefully considered. If you don’t make sure that it is easy to read or presented well, you are not going to reach your target audience. There is a kind of business-savvy art to managing and mastering digital signage.
Something to note is that many of these secrets also apply to website design. To streamline your content management, you can use the same fonts, colors, and ideas to make sure your messaging is consistent regardless of where it posts. This isn’t entirely necessary, but it is a good practice to ensure a certain amount of consistency to simplify communications.
This article will give you plenty of food for thought. Whether you already have or are considering acquiring your own digital signage.
A Quick Review of Digital Signage
Digital signage is a platform on which businesses can manage their information and push it out to the intended audience. It can be used to share many different types of information, including videos.
The displayed information tends to be eye catching to ensure that the intended audience sees it. Although the retail industry tends to use it the most often, digital signage can be used in any industry (and often is).
This is a type of communication that can be changed regularly. Once it is implemented, posting a communication doesn’t take very long. You will want to determine how you want to share information. Whether recorded videos, banners, images, or some other method of communicating something important. Here are 11 tips to mastering digital signage. These can help you to tailor your message and your design to reach the right audience at the right time.
1. Determine Content Layouts before Posting
One of the biggest mistakes most people make in the beginning is in how they present the content. You probably know that the most important information needs to be easy to find, but you may not be aware of what the best way of presenting it is.
People tend to see what displays in the middle first, but it is content in the upper left that tends to actually be the first thing that they read (unless you use larger fonts elsewhere, but we’ll get to that in a bit).
It’s important to establish composition and content displays that make it easy to consume the content.
- If it is too crowded, your audience will get overwhelmed.
- If it’s too sparse, they’ll wonder why you felt you needed to communicate.
This doesn’t mean that you should artificially reduce how much information you provide or add content you don’t need. By planning the layout you can avoid over- or underwhelming your audience. You don’t want them to start ignoring the signage because they don’t see its value.
You can choose from a wide range of content layouts for your digital signage. And don’t forget you can always change to a different layout later if the one you start with doesn’t seem to be as effective as you had hoped it would be.
Consider the following for mastering your digital signage displays.
- Always leave some blank space around the edges. This will mean that no information is hidden if it is displayed on a screen that doesn’t properly show the content.
- Put the most important things in the top left, then move left to right and top to bottom. A majority of people read from left to right, top to bottom, so that will be the natural way that they will read your displays.
- Apply the 3×5 rule for text. This means keep the content to three lines with no more than five words on each line. This not only makes it easy to consume the message, but ensures you are very concise in what you say.
2. Pay Attention to File Size
Always pay attention to file size when you prepare to post something over digital signage. The larger a file is, the more likely it is that it will display slower because of the length of time large files take to load over the Internet connection.
If someone has a slower WiFi connection, it is possible that they won’t get to see much of the communication you are sharing.
As a general rule, keep the file sizes to 3MB or less. Even slower connections should be able to display your message without too much trouble. If you post a video, there could be some buffering issues, but your audience should still be able to view what they need to with minimal distraction because of the connection.
3. Know Your Ratios and Plan for the Resolutions
One of the things that makes digital signage different from online content is that you can have almost complete control over the ratios (the size of the screens that people will use to view the communications).
- Horizontal screens have a 16 to 9 ratio.
- Portrait screens have a ratio of 9 by 16.
This makes it easier to know how to set up your signage. If you also push the communication to mobile devices, you will need to consider the dimensions. This is another aspect you can control if you give your staff mobile devices.
You can use some apps to set the ratio on mobile devices to match the rate of a screen as well. This will ensure that the way the information displays is consistent across all types of devices.
You also need to take the resolutions into account as the lower the resolution of the screens, the simpler the communications need to be. A screen’s resolution is just the number of pixels a screen shows.
The lower a screen’s resolution, the worse certain types of communications will look. If your company has lower resolution screens, you will want to limit how many images and videos you share over digital signage. Lower resolution means that visual communiques will be harder to read and watch.
Make sure you know the typical resolution of the monitors in your company, then adjust the dimensions and pixels of the post to optimize how the information displays.
4. Find an Appropriate and Easy to Read Font
People always want their fonts to be interesting, but you should never sacrifice readability. Writing in cursive or highly decorative fonts make a sign hard to read. So, people may not even try to read it. You need to use a clean, easy to read font without making it too childish or simplistic.
If you already have a great website, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by using the same font. It’s a great way to streamline your posting process.
The size of the font is just as critical as readability. Most of the time, the font should be at least 10 times bigger than you think it should be. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you choose your font.
- The font family sans-serif (including fonts Helvetica, Arial, and Verdana) is recommended since it is easy to read and looks professional.
- People may be reading the signage from 7 to 10 feet away. With this in mind, a 20 to 30 point font is easy to read from about 7 feet away. Make sure that your font size is at least that large for readability.
5. Choose Colors Carefully
All of the colors that you use needs to be considered and checked before you make signage go live. The colors should be contrasting enough that text is easy to read, but not so contrasting that you hurt the audience’s eyes. In order to master digital signage, you need to master color and contrast.
It is usually recommended to have light colors in the background and darker text as this draws the eyes to the text. Just make sure that the text is easy to read from up close and from a bit further back.
6. Verify Sounds
If your post includes any sound (especially video), make sure that you play it through during testing. Have someone who was not involved in the drafting/production listen to the communication to ensure they can easily understand what is being said. If they have questions, you may need to record the communique again.
Consider that some members of your audience may not be able to listen to the sound, so add a warning to let them know that sound is required.
7. Time Posts for Maximum Efficiency
If you are posting to multiple time zones, set up your signs to post at the same time for each time zone – not all at once.
This ensures that your audiences are more likely to see what they need to when they need to see it. For example, if you post something at 10am EST (east coast in the USA), people in Europe will be logging out and heading home and people on the west coast of the USA will not be online yet.
Maximize the number of views at the optimal times. This will significantly increase how effective your posts are.
8. Write for the Intended Audience
One of the most important considerations for each sign is who your target audience is. People will only take a few seconds to determine if they need to pay attention (or even bother to remember) to the sign.
To have the greatest effect, your sign needs to get the attention of the intended audience. Posting during the right time zone is part of this, but the text and method of offering the information is just as important.
9. Encourage Collaboration
Some departments work best when they collaborate. Nearly every department should be working with marketing, but it is particularly important that marketing and development teams work together.
You don’t want marketing making promises that don’t reflect what your company is offering, whether it is a service or a product. This can be carried over to the posts that you add to your digital signs.
10. Test Any Calls to Action
It is inevitable that you will add a call to action to your digital signage. From letting people know who to contact about an upcoming event to asking them to fill out forms, there are many reasons why you may want people to respond.
Issuing a call to action is perfectly fine, but it does mean you should take the time to do some extra verification before you post.
- Any links that you post need to be checked to ensure that they work and that they take the reader to the right page.
- Any files from links need to be checked to make sure they download to different platforms.
You should also consider using different phrases to increase the likelihood that people will click on the link. For example, using the term “sign up” tends to be less effective than “learn more” since one phrase implies that the reader will need to be active after clicking the link, while the other encourages the audience to read.
Over time, you’ll want to see what calls to action have been effective and which ones haven’t.
11. Assess Post Effectiveness
Just like with your website, you need to take the time to see how effective your signs have been. If you have a call to action you can see how many times links have been clicked or files downloaded and returned.
If you find that a number of people are unaware of things that have been posted, you want to find out why your target audience wasn’t reached.
Even if you get it right in the beginning, you should change up your approach over time. One of the few things that is consistent about technology is that it will change. People’s attention span and way of consuming media changes with time.
You’ll need to regularly check to see if your approach is continuing to be effective or determine that it is time to make some changes.
Getting Your Future Posts Right
Whenever you post something on your digital signage, remember that its purpose is always to impart information. As long as you keep this in mind, you should be able to make the right choices, and master digital signage in no time!
Just like you have to change up your products and services, you’ll need to rethink how to keep your signs relevant. Don’t use them to post what amounts to white noise.
Always make the posts count, just like you do with your website. Hope these tips will help you master your digital signage and create amazing displays!