The Digital Signage Insider

Video: Make On-Screen Content Memorable with Chunking and Coding

Published on: 2013-08-07

Continuing our theme from last week, we're converting the majority of our articles on making great digital signage content into short YouTube videos, which should provide a fun and engaging way to learn about some of the best practices that we've highlighted over the years. Today's video builds on our earlier discussion of chunking and coding. While keeping us rooted in the psychology of the viewer, this video offers up a few more ways of making the ideas you're trying to communicate on screen more memorable, and thus easier to recall later.

Chunking and Coding

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Here's a transcript of the video

Whether you use digital signage to advertise, educate or inform, the content on your screens needs to connect with your viewers and deliver a clean, clear message. But as critical as content is to making a digital signage project a success, many still struggle to produce attractive, efficient segments to show on their screens.

Fortunately, making great digital signage content is as much science as it is art, and with a few simple tips and techniques you can supercharge bland, ineffective clips, making them into memorable, efficient delivery mechanisms for your messages.

And in these videos, we're going to show you how, one step at a time. Tip #2: Chunking and Coding.

Chunking and coding are two parts of your brain's automatic sorting system. Chunking means breaking large pieces of information into smaller chunks according to some simple rules. It's especially useful if you need to display a large list of items on screen at once. Effectively, chunking means giving your viewer clues about how to remember a sequence of items by dividing that sequence into chunks, each of which is composed of the individual elements you wish to have your viewers remember.

The chunking effect works best with things that naturally break apart into smaller units, like numbers, compound words, and even synonyms. That's why you'd never see a 10-digit number presented like this: 9545483300. Instead, we would always show it like this: 954 548 3300.

Chunking is often used together with coding, which means mentally arranging similar or related items into groups to make them easier to remember. Even though it can be difficult to find ways to make items relate to each other in digital signage content, the effect is worthwhile, since items that can be grouped together according to some common characteristics are far more likely to be recalled correctly later on than items that don't share any characteristics with other things on screen. While natural groupings tend to work best, even artificial groupings like using some kind of visual effect to relate different items together on screen can be effective.

That said, the coding effect does tend to diminish rapidly when using more than five words or phrases, or when using items that don't fall into natural groupings based on concept, language, sound or other characteristics.

So, how can we use our newfound knowledge?

First, we can pre-order our content by grouping key phrases or concepts into distinct areas and times on screen. Next, we can use repetition: by repeating key words, phrases or ideas multiple times in a row, we can reinforce them. Similarly, we can use alliteration: by using words starting with the same letter or sound, we can link them together, again making them more memorable. And finally, we can use the "Rule of 3." Building sentences or phrases as a progression of three clauses is a great way of improving their memorability.

Now that you know a bit more about chunking and coding, you're well prepared for our next video: conquering contextual cues and the vampire effect.

If you'd like to take a deeper dive into today's topic, or if you'd like to learn more tricks about making great digital signage content, visit and do a search for "Making great digital signage content."

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