Digital Signage Insider: News, Trends and Analysis

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been revisiting one of our most popular blog article series, "Making Great Digital Signage Content", through a series of posts on LinkedIn. If you haven't been following us on LinkedIn, be sure to connect with us for the latest updates and best practices. And with the current challenges many businesses are facing, we thought it would be a great time to recap our tips for creating effective digital signage.

Great digital signage can maximize exposure, influence customers, and help visitors remember information more easily. One of the biggest things to keep in mind when creating content is that digital signage is different from printed signage and ads. Though there are more avenues for you to really make an impact on your audience, there are also some common pitfalls when moving to the digital medium.

Key Takeaway: There are really only three things to focus on:

  1. Crafting Effective Copy
  2. Choosing Design & Brand Themes
  3. Utilizing Motion

We'll go over some best practices in each aspect, but these three themes will lead to you maximizing the outcomes from your digital signage campaigns.

Effective Copywriting

Effective copy is all about making sure your text is clear and easy to read. The most important line of text you will write is your call-to-action (CTA), so let’s start by addressing that first. Many people tend to overthink how their CTA should read, but we've found that writing a short and actionable command statement works the best, because there is a greater chance the viewer will act upon it. Apart from that, make sure to keep the CTA straightforward in terms of grammar and language used.

Of course, your CTA isn't the only text you’re writing for your signage. When it comes to conveying all the other information, we can actually introduce a bit of psychology in order to increase recall rate and understanding. The first way is to use a popular mnemonic technique called chunking and coding, which is when you arrange your information into smaller groups of similar items that makes it easier to remember. The modern-day phone number format in North America, e.g. 954-555-1212, is an example of this. Another memory principle we can use to our advantage is the serial positioning effect. This effect states that an element's position in a list affects its recall. So how can you take advantage of this phenomenon? Simply arrange the information that you're presenting to increase the odds that the most important messages will be remembered. We recommend limiting your list of information to 5-7 points, with the most important points appearing at the beginning or the end of the list.

Design Standards

The next key element in putting your content together is design (in the traditional sense). When we think of design, we often think of color. For many of us, different colors represent different emotions when we see or interact with them. Though there is research on how colors can cause mood shifts or even decrease blood pressure, most viewers will not pay enough attention to the digital sign to feel this effect. Contrary to popular belief, there is no overarching relationship between color and content performance, especially when it comes to glance-type digital signage. Instead of worrying about what kind of connotations certain colors have, it’s better to stick to your brand colors and build from there.

Now, you may be wondering why certain signs or ads stand out to you more. The design element that you are actually getting affected by is contrast, which arises from the color combinations, not the actual colors themselves. Because digital signs emit light, their ability to show contrasting colors actually changes with a person's viewing angle. This makes contrast far more important when it comes to getting your content noticed because it can have a big impact on how easy it is to decipher content on the screen.

Motion In Digital Signage

The last and most important differentiator between print and digital mediums is that digital gives you the freedom to move images around the screen. However, poorly-planned motion can actually decrease visibility and readability. Check out our separate article on the 7 important things to keep in mind when using motion, but on a high-level, the biggest thing to keep in mind is to never let motion interfere with readability. This means no drastic movements to your text and allowing enough time for viewers to read.

Lastly, a common mistake people make when composing shots is assuming that their audience will watch their entire segment, however long, from beginning to end. That could not be further from the truth! For a vast majority, they may never see your clip in its entirety. The best way to compose scenes is to treat each slide as a standalone poster. This way, your audience isn't left with bits of information without context, while also maximizing the chance of getting your message across to an increasingly distracted audience.

Creating effective signage can be a challenging process of trial and error. And while we haven’t uncovered a secret formula that eliminates the need to test, study, and repeat, we hope to have equipped you with some best practices to streamline your content creation process and get better results from the get-go.


Photo by Melanie Pongratz, Unsplash

 

After several months of quarantine and mixed results more services are reopening, as many businesses and consumers have started to get impatient with the lockdown. People are beginning to go out again and everything looks normal except for the fact that masks are required in many regions and the virus is still at large. By now, some forward-thinking companies have landed on customer queuing systems as a key part of their action plan for keeping employees and guests safe. When it comes to queuing technology, there are several prominent providers in the market, but before you choose the perfect system for your business, here is a list of must-haves to make sure all your business needs are met.

1. Contactless Queuing

The whole idea behind virtual queuing systems is to reduce physical contact with other people and shared surfaces, providing a safe environment for people and drastically reducing individual wait times. Choosing a system that allows customers to check-in and reserve their spot in line without having to be physically present is a must. In an ideal queuing system, customers can check in from anywhere and are served instantly when they arrive, increasing overall satisfaction and brand approval. As an added benefit, technologies like WireSpring SmartFlow also include features like pre-visit questionnaires and appointment booking within the service, which gives people a chance to say what they’re looking for and allows employees to efficiently allocate resources. Contactless queuing is likely here to stay even after the pandemic, so making sure your queuing system includes these capabilities should yield dividends in the long run.

2. Universal Phone Support

Another crucial aspect of a queuing system is minimizing any extra steps that consumers must take to join the queue. The main goal of a customer is to take the path of least resistance to quickly get in, complete a task, and leave safely. Having to download an external app or go through a long registration process can be a big deterrent that may cause people to seek other options -- especially if they are first-time customers. Not only is ease-of-use important, but many businesses fail to recognize that their system must also be flexible when it comes to mobile messaging. A great queuing system should accommodate different types of smartphones and varying levels of Internet/web access. Meeting the technological needs of your potential visitors or customers can help streamline the queuing process.

3. Flexible Management Platform

No matter how easy the customer side of the system is, the right queue management system must also be easy for your business to implement and manage. Some queuing systems require a physical kiosk or tablet that you need to install and connect to the rest of your business ecosystem. Others rely upon a web-based interface, and yet others support either approach. When reviewing different options, it may be helpful to take a mental inventory of your services, determine how many queues you’ll need, and understand the complexities in order to pick a system that is capable of fitting your workflow and maximizing your efficiency.

4. Real-Time Analytics

Having the proper tools to track and manage your queues is one of the most important parts of a queuing system. Every company has a different approach to the variety of things they’d like to see on a reporting dashboard. In this case, make sure to choose a system that can show real-time queue data as well as historical reports. Information is key when it comes to making quick and strategic decisions, especially if your business tends to experience ebbs and flows with your walk-in traffic.

5. Digital Signage Integration

Even in a time when leaving the house can be a hassle, customers like to be engaged throughout their in-person experience. The best queue management systems are linked to digital signage that helps customers better navigate a stressful situation, provides them with entertainment, or otherwise enhances their experience. Since digital signage is already present at many businesses and is a great way to improve the consumer experience, any new queuing system should provide widgets or other integrations so you can display the queue status on your existing displays.

With many virtual queuing products on the market, there are numerous options for helping you manage walk-in traffic and improve the customer experience. Queuing systems have been around for a long time, and modern technology has finally caught up to the ticket dispensers and pagers of yesteryear. These new smart queuing systems offer a robust set of benefits that’s not just limited to reducing wait times. As you think about whether a queue management system is right for your business, we hope this checklist will help you become more informed about the options and choose the perfect one for your needs.

As summer turns into fall parents and students alike are usually eager to start the back-to-school routine. Whether it’s the prospect of returning to campus, seeing old friends, or simply the thrill of taking your kids to pick up supplies or moving them into their dorms, these activities typically take over the months of August and September. Though it may not exactly be the situation this year, universities are still opening in case you didn't know. Despite the concerns that come with opening up college campuses, almost 65% of higher learning institutions have opted for a "hybrid model" for the first part of the 2020-2021 academic year. The hybrid model essentially dictates that a majority of classes will be online with a few in-person labs for necessary courses. Many universities are confident that this approach will work. I mean, if classes are online, people can just stay within the safety of their dorms, right? Well, wait, let's zoom out a bit.

College campuses are more of an ecosystem than a classroom. Locking kids in a room with Zoom installed on their laptop won't stop them from getting out to grab food, run errands like laundry or shopping, or meet with advisors. All of which are probably more harmful than sitting in a lecture hall. Sure, universities are in a better position to up their online education systems given the time they have gotten to adapt, but will students seamlessly integrate into the new restrictions colleges might place? But while schools continue along with their fall reopening plans, many students are actually questioning the idea of going back to campus at all. The big issue in mind for new and returning students is whether they should take a gap year instead. Many have started to see that online learning is not encompassing of the college experience. And if you’re not getting the college experience, what’s the point in paying for it?

The pressure is on for universities to enact safety measures and make sure campus activities and processes are cleared for health measures, particularly in on-campus locations that could be in danger of overcrowding, like sporting events, gyms, dining halls, residence halls and libraries. Compounding the difficult choices schools are making about how to safely handle a return to campus, many are already in financially difficult positions due to drops in enrollment and funding cuts. Still, they will have to invest in innovative technologies in order to bring back everything else they offer as much as they can. Canceling all events and crucial campus services would only increase their troubles.

Right now, many of the public and confirmed university plans consist of "a strong adherence to social distancing policies" and a mandatory mask policy. Instead of closing down libraries or in-person services, a supplementary approach to what universities are doing is integrating queue management systems and digital signage to keep students/staff safe and informed. Telling people to stay 6 feet apart is different from setting them up for success. By allowing students to queue into a service remotely, universities can drastically reduce crowding, improve service times to have the least amount of exposure/contact, and keep students feeling safe. Though the change may be small, queuing systems like the FireCast SmartFlow can make a huge difference. I could see this working out well in a lot of crowded places. For example:

  • Campus Events: Career fairs, RSO fairs, and conferences are a huge part of the learning experience. Use a queuing system to limit the number of people without having students wait in long lines and risk their health. Canceling these types of opportunities might not bode well.
  • Libraries: Despite online classes, many students will need to travel to get textbooks and supplies or get access to technology resources like printers and software. This way, you can allow easier access to resources.
  • Dining Halls: Dining is a huge necessity for students living on campus and rush hours can get crazy. By adding queues at this point of interaction, students can wait in the comfort of their dorms before they come to pick up food.
  • Residence Halls: This is the place where the majority of students will be and closing amenities like common kitchens and laundry rooms will only make things harder. Using a queuing system to reduce the number of active students in these areas can help everyone feel much safer.
  • Student Services: Despite online zoom appointments, services for things like financial aid, and health check-ups sometimes need to be done in-person. Here, queues can decrease wait time and also increase service efficiency.

We all know that university operations for the next year or so will not be the same as they used to be. For students who return to campus, it’s important to provide a more filtered college experience that doesn’t just feel safer, but actually is safer. Not only can queue management systems provide that, but they are also a long term investment in both safety and convenience. Even after we return back to normal, these systems will continue to improve services and increase student satisfaction. After all, no one likes waiting in line.

As smart devices like Fitbit and Google Nest Hub bring the Internet of Things into more people’s homes, the next generation of connected devices is also providing businesses with new levels of control over their operations. IoT systems are particularly valuable to small businesses, given the business optimization and cost-saving benefits they bring. These connected devices offer a way for companies big and small to increase efficiency and productivity through real-time monitoring and reporting of critical business conditions and external information.

When it comes to cost savings, it's often all about system servicing. Instead of long wait times for an on-site technician, especially during COVID, remote monitoring and troubleshooting can lower expenses and support successful maintenance. Instead of having multiple service checks and repair schedules, IoT can help businesses be proactive by continuously monitoring for issues and in turn spend fewer resources to solve problems. Even boring old software upgrades get a boost from IoT technologies -- with these kinds of systems, both employees and managers can easily push over the air updates without extra assistance instead of waiting for an on-site IT person to complete them.


Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

Which types of devices can be managed and updated remotely? The list is long and varied, and the relevance of any given product will vary based on the nature of your business. Let’s take a coffee shop, for example. Within the venue, you might find a plethora of IoT-enabled devices:

  • Bean grinder
  • Drip coffeemaker
  • Espresso/cappuccino machine
  • Refrigerator and freezer
  • Trash compactor
  • POS system
  • Credit card/NFC reader
  • Employee check-in/check-out system
  • Security system
  • Digital signage (and/or digital menus)

Some of these products may run an IoT software stack that the device maker built from scratch, while others may be leveraging a commercially-available solution like FireCast M2M Edition.

Let’s dive into a more specific example. Say you own a restaurant that derives a large portion of profits from takeout and delivery orders at dinnertime, and customers tend to crave your house-made lemonade in the summer. You might configure your refrigerator to check the weight of inventory in the bin where you store the lemons, and if it drops below a certain threshold, notify you so you can order more lemons before the evening rush. In this case, the system helps streamline existing customer service models by helping you provide better service and increase loyalty.

At the end of the day, IoT devices in business environments can reduce unnecessary service visits, improve operating efficiency, and increase the likelihood that customers get the products and services they want.

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Looking for more articles and research? Our newest articles can always be found at Digital Signage Insider, but there are hundreds of additional research articles in our historical articles archive.


You may also be interested in M2M Insider: our blog about M2M and the Internet of Things.


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