“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?”
Like most things in digital signage, there is a subtle balance to hit when using animation and sound. In a busy setting, it’s important to hit that balance or it can be overwhelming to the viewer, distract from the message and turn the viewer’s attention away.
Sound can help create an immersive environment – but keep in mind that the other noise in the space will compete in busy settings. Think about using directional speakers to keep sound in a specifically appointed area. This keeps the sound from distracting others beyond that range and can draw in the listener to focus on your message. The sound must be high quality, and if not, it detracts from the overall experience. If your message relies largely on sound to make sense and portray the message, you must think carefully about the busy setting. Will the message get across to the viewer if the sound is drowned out? If your answer is no, you may rethink your sound strategy in this specific area.
Animation can also be very effective if used cohesively while considering message length. Use a sweet and short call to action, and back up that message with eye-catching, animated visuals. If you’re trying to throw too much information at the consumer in addition to adding animation, they are going to have a hard time processing any of that information – the exact opposite of the affect you’re seeking.
In our technology-focused day and age, it’s important to not immediately jump into features (like sound and animation) without thinking through the setting, strategizing how the features will enhance your message and analyzing how it might impact viewers.