“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?”
In my opinion, and in a convention center environment, animation added to the digital signage creates energy and breaks up what is sometimes dry and static content. Additionally, studies I’ve read report that video adds value by increasing retention 2.5 times over static content. Sound, on the other hand, is a big distraction in a convention center. I’ve eliminated sound from all signage because of the fact that, when the venue is full of guests, no one can hear the audio. When asked to turn it up, guests will complain that it’s too loud. I also believe that a good mix is 50-50 when it comes to static and animation. I usually break up the playlist and alternate static and video because I sometimes see a glitch with the end of a video and start of another.