Let’s start off by saying there is no one way to produce interactive digital signage. Methods and products will vary depending on your audience, your products, and your resources. Like any medium, it’s subjective. However, that doesn’t mean it’s all free jazz. As with any marketing medium, interactive digital signage is dependent on trial and error, but there are some rules to bear in mind that will make the difference between effective signage and ineffective “window dressing.”
Don’t: Get stuck in a CMS rut
Content management systems (CMS) are great for simplifying content marketing strategy by providing a one-stop location to save and access content. That being said, relying on a centralized CMS for your digital signage software might not be the best idea.
A centralized CMS will necessarily limit your potential with interactive digital signage because of its localized nature. Any time you create rich digital content, you’re likely to overload your CMS, which will necessarily cause you to limit how creative and detailed you can be. In my opinion, it’s much better to switch to a platform that connects to an external resource, thus allowing you more space to create rich digital signage.
Do: Pay attention to analytics
As Cynthia Williams, a marketing expert at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting, points out, “The ‘interactive’ part of digital signage is really important, because it’s a reminder that you’re engaging in a two-way conversation. As users can interact with your signage, you can intricately know how each one relates to your content through a variety of mediums.”
For that reason, always pay attention to your user analytics. If something isn’t working, you not only have the ability to find out, you can get closer to pinpointing the exact issue and developing a solution. Take a look at your digital signage software to make sure it has some analytics feedback, and then use that feedback.
Interactive digital signage may seem like a flashy new field, but there is one core concept that still holds true from the long tradition of marketing: Keep things simple. When designing your digital signage, you want the user to be completely clear on who you are, what you want, and what they can do.
Bear in mind the five-second rule. No, not that one, but the one that says your user should be able to figure out what they should do in next within five seconds. Ideally, it should be almost instant. This isn’t a puzzle game you’re developing. Any longer than five seconds, and you’ve already lost them. Use visuals to direct them to action points, and don’t rely too much on text. Make the interface clear and clean where possible.
Do: Think beyond touch
Touch-based interactions are the norm in interactive digital signage, but that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to them. Maud Cho, a business writer at DraftBeyond and Researchpapersuk, informs us that “modern audiences are already unimpressed with touch interactions on signage, so if you want to grab them, you need to think of other tactics.”
Touch capability is further challenged by the COVID-19 outbreak, so try making use of voice-activated interactivity or touchless sensors. Start big and whittle down; the more varied your interactions, the more analytics data you’ll have in response, so you can fine-tune your interactions as you go.
Don’t: Go it alone
Creating interactive digital signage can be complicated, and it’s easy to get disillusioned with the process. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to communities of developers and see whether they’ve experienced similar issues.
If you’re hitting a particularly big stumbling block, share your prototypes with other developers. Allowing others to trial your signage could also invite detailed feedback that regular users can’t always put into words.
Though these rules work for the majority of cases, your first port of call could be your users. The intersection between your specific product and their specific needs could go a long way in informing how you put together your signage solution. If they don’t respond to haptic feedback or a particular content approach, don’t use it. If they like heavily textual images or subtle movement complemented by audio in a certain circumstance, go for it. The goal of any given project will also likely dictate a great deal, but these rules are here to make you reflect on your work and how it could be better.