Ask the Board – July 25, 2016 | FRANK McGUINNESS


With so many flat-panel display options now on the market, what is the best approach to making the best choice for a project?

Answer courtesy of Terry McFarland, Manager of Information Design & Experience, Disney Vacation Club

Factors: Are we outdoors, indoors, sunny, rainy, big venue, small venue, video wall, solo display, competitors present, museum, heavy theming, static content, motion content, cutting edge, tried-n-true, tight budget, disposable, marketing signage, information signage, and/or interactive signage?  Oh, and if it’s interactive, is it single or multi-touch?  And the list goes on. Every project seems to have its own unique set of factors that make even those experienced feel like they’re approaching a seemingly redundant project for the very first time.  Whether we cheat and ask our trusted expert vendor (actually a perfectly fine idea) or try and go it alone, we’re still in need of identifying all of the important factors. Simply approaching the question with a list of content and environmental factors gets you in the ballpark of a preferred solution in a world where there are no silver bullets.

When it comes to content signage like you would find in a restaurant or airport, I’ll leave the NITs, contract ratios, refresh rates and reliability ratings to the manufacturers and expert technology partners. When it comes to interactive signage, we want to remember that we have only an instant with each passerby to build trust and engagement. This means that if your content is on the cutting edge, reliability and consistent touch response are incredibly important to test to immaculate perfection and consistency.  I think you’ll find that less is often more. Requiring less of our guests is often a better way to hold their attention.  Being intuitive and straightforward is generally going to keep them around long enough to get to your main point. And often times, this means asking for simple touches as opposed to wildly flashy swipes and gestures (unless that’s what your content is purposefully going for).  And guess what? Touch versus gesture can often dictate different display preferences with different technologies.

The moral of the story is to marry content with environment. No detail is trivial.  The best outcome is the one where both content and environment are considered from the very beginning.  If you can affect the design of the environment, you’ll get extra style points!  If all of this is in the conversation with your trusted technology partner, you’re already on your way to succeeding in being the stand out in the crowd!

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Integration Consultant
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

End User Council

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