“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?”
A “busy” setting for a university campus is probably very different than a busy setting in a shopping mall, but here on campus EVERY time we have deployed a sign that had sound … we were asked within 24 hour to turn it OFF. So in our typical venue the answer is sound distracts. Animation or just basic motion is always a winner … something that grabs the eye of a passer-by. Can there be too much animation/ movement? Definitely. You still want the image to change pretty quickly, and you don’t want to distract the eye from seeing the actual message. Ever watched a commercial, then asked yourself what it was advertising?