“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?”
Is animation and sound a distraction from viewers absorbing your digital signage message? I believe the answer could be both yes and no, depending on the environment where the signage is located and the type of signage being displayed. Both scenarios can have just enough animation as well as too much to be distracting.
The specific environment in which digital displays are located can also be a determining factor as to whether animation and/or sound will be a distraction. In a corporate environment, having sound in general employee areas, such as break rooms or lobbies, can definitely become a distraction. However, animation might not be as much of one, whereas sound and animation in a retail environment might be more of a benefit than a distraction.