“In a busy setting, do animation and sound in particular distract viewers from absorbing your messages, or do they help to draw attention? How much is too much?”
Grabbing the attention of content viewers to produce actionable results is a goal in most digital signage networks. In a busy setting, sound and animation may help break through other environmental factors as well as the digital cocoon most enter when on their smart devices. However, too much of either can distract instead of engage. In a transportation environment, audio can interfere with vital messaging that must reach our passengers, and for that reason, it has not been incorporated into regular use. Audio has been utilized for special events that last no more than a few hours, but for any regularly repeated message tied to signage, sound is not utilized. Animation, on the other hand, is routinely relied on in content development. The level of use is tied to the information type displayed and where the content is displayed. In an active airport ticket lobby, animation at any level for marketing messages is fully utilized.
For directional or other messaging, we often prefer all static messaging. For example, informational digital content-related construction activity is generally static to ensure the information is relayed completely. In addition, marketing messages for parking or similar services or amenities may remain static as well. This, however, is tied more to the overall budget (reusing online copy) than concern over distraction. For our recent loyalty program roll out, full animation was utilized in the first half of the spot to grab attention. Then, the animation transitioned into static to relay the specific call to action. In general, our messages to passengers in a busy ticket lobby will tend to be static to provide the viewer the time to absorb the message while in motion through the lobby but also contain appropriate animation when needed (and in the budget).