“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?”
Animation and sound can be a great way to grab your audience’s attention as they stroll by a digital sign. Once you have their attention, continual movement and sound may be distracting and cause them to lose focus on the message. I don’t recommend constant animation on messages. Animation moving the message in and out of the sign is acceptable, but halt the animation when the key message is on the screen.
Sound isn’t nearly as distracting as animation if it is pleasant and low. Sounds should be limited to occasional messages rather than every message or you will get a transition of multiple tones that don’t blend. Always take into consideration the environment around the sign. An appropriate sound for a waiting area is much different than an appropriate sound for a production area. As always, the key to successful digital signage is letting your audience drive your delivery.