Ask the Board – July 25, 2016 | SPENCER GRAHAM


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

You will need to ask yourself some of these questions … and more!  Monitors come in sizes ranging from mere inches to many feet long.  Picking the right monitor takes a lot of consideration.

What content will you be displaying primarily? Always start with a discussion of what your message is going to be.  Will it be simple text, videos, infographics or a combination?  Who are you messaging?  How often will your messaging change?  Who will design the content?  Who will manage the content?  How will you manage the content?

What is the venue in which it will be installed?   Reception area, lobby, atrium, hallway, store front, break room, end cap?  Different venues require different solutions.  Do you need single monitors, video walls, wayfinding, Walls of Honor, Donor Recognition Walls, and interactivity?  Indoor or outdoor deployment?  One solution does not fit all situations.

What size of a monitor will look best in the area it will be installed?  How big is the wall space?  What else is located around it?  Will it add or detract from the room ambiance?  One size does not fit all situations.

What type of monitor?  Will it be an LCD or LED?  What is the ambient light in the area?  Will sunlight compete with the brightness value of the monitor?  Indoor or outdoor?

How far away will it have to be viewed by your intended audience?  The audience has to be able to read and see the images and text.  Font sizes matter! 

Can the audience read the information from that distance?  Who is your intended audience?  Older eyes have more difficulty reading smaller font sizes.

Will it need to be ADA Compliant?  Check out the rules BEFORE you start buying hardware!  How far out from the wall will it be?  How high up on the wall will it be?  Does it need audio capability?  Will it have touch-screen interactivity?  All these things come into play for ADA Compliance.

Will it need to be touch-screen interactive?  Will it mount to the wall, stand on a pedestal or be enclosed in a kiosk?  See ADA Compliance, too.

Does it need to be turned on 24/7/365?  Is the monitor rated for full-duty cycle?  What is the warranty difference between commercial-grade versus consumer-grade monitors?  Does it have an emergency messaging feature?

How sturdy is the structure behind where it will be mounted?  Plaster, plywood, wood studs, steel studs, block wall, etc.  Monitors come in a variety of sizes and weights.  Is there a chance there will be asbestos issues?  Can you easily get power and data network wiring to the monitor without making it an ugly installation?

What is your budget for the project?  Know the budget cycle and procurement procedures.  Get pricing on the monitor, mounting solution, cost of pulling power and data lines to the monitor, installation labor, shipping costs, content creation, ongoing cost of content, ongoing regular costs of power and network, etc.  Allow ample time for orders to ship and be received.

Can we make this model exportable for future installations to find economies of scale?  If you think you will be adding more digital signage in the future, try to come up with a model that allows you to “reuse” the concept with only minor adjustments to save costs.

About Author

Manager of Operations, Information Stations, Interactive Video, Network & Web Services
West Virginia University

End User Council

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