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CNN ditches the ticker

Author: WireSpring on 2009-01-27 17:54:03

Reported all over the web (a while ago), 37 Signals has a good take on what happened:

Huzzah! The crawl, the unending stream of news at the bottom of the screen, disappeared from CNN last Monday (replaced by a line of static text at the bottom of the screen that is tied to the story on air). Nice breather for viewers and also nice to see CNN competing by underdoing the competition. Earl K. Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, says viewers may think that they can process it all, but they’re fooling themselves: “A lot of times, when you think you’re multi-tasking, you’re just switching your attention between one or two or three things.”

Our take:

WireSpring has advocated the very limited use of tickers on digital signage networks for a long time now, as we have empirically measured just what professor Miller notes above. People don't process the scrolling text effectively, and when they are looking at it, the leave practically no attention resources devoted to the remaineder of the screen, which is usually not what the signage network owners intend.

Let's hope some DOOH networks learn from CNN's practice and start abandoning their scrolling text tickers in favor of signage elements that make sense.

Comments (1)

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2009-03-02John Moezzi writes:
I could't agree more with your comments here. While the methods and speed with which we transmit visual messages has increased exponentially over our history, our ability to process visual communications has not increased. In my 10 years in digital signage I have come to learn that less is more in conveying your message. Sidebar - there are certain applications when more is actually more - think digital signage dashbaords reporting production data in a manufacturing plant.

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