“What are the top three questions you should ask when considering digital signage as a communication medium?”
When considering digital signage, there is a tendency to jump straight into the technical stuff (4K, loop length, display technology, media players, etc.). Technical details are important, but starting with a meaningful effort to define the user experience and strategy will pave the way for smarter decisions. Having a communications plan will guide the technology and create efficiencies later as the details will fall nicely into place. The top three questions we ask our clients are:
- Who is the audience? Content is most engaging when it is tailored to the audience, in terms of writing and design. We need to give the audience a reason to care about what is on our screens. To do that, we need to know who they are and why they are there. This isn’t just a question of demography. We have to balance what we need the audience to know against what they want to know. Creating an audience persona will help you tailor your writing and design for effective and engaging messaging.
- How can digital signage complement the architecture and enhance the user experience? Architects designevery space for a purpose, and any digital installation should further that purpose. Consider whether the space was designed for people to pass through, like a train station or lobby, as opposed to fostering community, like a lounge. If the architecture has a focal point or a unique feature, that can be emphasized. Good digital signage is seamlessly and beautifully integrated into the architecture. This kind of architectural thinking helps inform the display technology, screen size and screen placement. It can also spark content ideas and help define design in terms of font size and animation speeds.
- Content Strategy: What digital assets, data sources and production processes can be leveraged? A common theme in digital signage is planning for “Day Two,” especially in terms of content. Before installing even one sign, have a solid content strategy in place. This will save headaches, frustration, time, and money. Develop a content strategy by finding the efficiencies—repurposing creative assets, and integrating signage into the regular content production workflow. My favorite way to keep content fresh is by using data feeds, which can be obtained through a subscription service or from internal data. For signage networks that span the globe, it’s a good idea to train reliable content contributors who can access pre-formatted templates and data files.
Good digital signage is built on a solid foundation of user experience and sound content strategy. Keeping these big picture goals in mind from Day One sets up success on Day Two.