The Digital Signage Insider

Digital Signage Education: Learning How to Design Great Content

Published on: 2012-08-23

We've been obsessed with finding ways to help people consistently design great digital signage content for a while now. Between the hundreds (thousands?) of hours of research conducted, dozens of articles written, and scores of interviews, educational seminars and presentations given, we've tried not only to uncover as many best practices for making content as possible, but also to get them into the hands of people who could actually use them. With this in mind, a couple of content-related emails in my inbox this week got me particularly excited.

Teaching Industry Newcomers About What Makes Content Effective

The first email I received was from the good folks at the DSE. They were writing to let me know that I'd be allowed to reprise the "Everything you need to know about making digital signage content" presentation that we've been peddling for the last few years during the upcoming DSE 2013. The DSE always attracts a diverse audience, including a good number of people who are brand-new to our industry, so I've been adamant that somebody needs to give a practical, nuts-and-bolts presentation on content at the show every single year. Or, indoctrinate early, indoctrinate often, as I like to say. If you don't plan on making it to the show (or you have better things to do than sit and listen to me prattle away for an hour), much of the session will cover tips that we've published before on this blog, including: That's just the tip of the iceberg, and each year we try to add new, fresh information to the pitch. This year will be no exception, so if you have some particularly great content that you'd like to show off, I'm looking for some new examples to pick apart and analyze. And if you happen to have read our articles (or seen this seminar) and would like us to cover some new material as well, I'd love to hear from you.

Recognizing Excellent Content

The second message in my inbox was from David Drain, Executive Director of the industry's other major acronym, the DSA. They're apparently getting all set up for their DSA Crown Awards, which "recognize excellent content," according to their press release.

I like the setup of the Crown Awards. Having both designed and then judged POPAI's digital signage content awards for several years, I know just how difficult it can be to a) produce a contest that is fair and balanced, b) find judges qualified to actually, oh, I don't know, judge content, and c) convince companies to enter the contest. What I particularly liked about POPAI's setup (and I'm pleased to see has carried over to the Crown Awards) is judgment of both form and function. Entrants don't just upload their prettiest content for beauty-pageant judging. They must also explain the goals of the content, and provide insight into whether the content successfully met those goals.

I particularly like the phrasing "recognize excellent content," since it's (intentionally or not) a double entendre. After all, for the contest to function properly, the judges will have to recognize (as in discover) the great content, and they'll then have to recognize (as in honor) it so that other folks will want to get/make some great content of their own. It's that latter part that needs the biggest boost in our industry. There have been plenty of contests, but none have been able to ignite a critical mass of potential content creators. There are plenty of organizations capable of turning out consistently good (or even great) content, but none have achieved significant scale in the industry. Maybe it's a price thing, or maybe most digital signage owners/operators don't know or don't care about the practical benefits of using genuinely great content. One thing's for sure: the content problem in our industry has not yet been solved. Some clever people have tried (and are still trying) to find clever solutions to the problem, but in my mind there's still a lot more work to be done.

So if you think you make great content, I hope you'll consider entering it into a contest or two this coming year -- both to show off your expertise and to help raise the bar for recognizing content as "great." And if you don't make content but you want to, or if you're new to digital signage and want a quick introduction to one of the most important (and often least appreciated) elements of any network, reading the articles above and attending my workshop at DSE 2013 are great ways to get started.


+1 # jelly andrews 2012-10-05 12:15
Thanks for sharing this. This is very useful. I might use this in the future.
0 # Candy Smith 2013-02-27 02:05
Oh! This is very informative. The information shared is really interesting and of great help in making a great digital signage. Thanks for sharing this valuable piece of information.

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