Digital signage, like your website, social media presence, PowerPoint presentations, print documents and other expressions of your organization’s information, needs the context of a design/template… and needs content.
But while you might use some of the same tools as you would for your website or PowerPoint, creating content for digital signage isn’t the same, because a digital sign isn’t a Web page or a PowerPoint presentation. Here’s some thoughts on these differences — and the implications and consequences in terms of designing and creating content.
For most website perusal (via desktop, notebook and tablet viewing), the display is within arm’s length and either close to eye level or below.
“With digital signage, one main difference is that the designer has to think about how things will look from where the viewer is in relation to the screen,” says Megan O’Connor, principal producer director at the University of California San Diego‘s Academic Computing and Media Services, and the project manager for roughly 40 digital signs around campus. “Is the display at head level, so people will be looking straight at it, or will they be looking up? Is the screen 30 feet away from the viewer or 1 foot from the viewer? Are most viewers standing in front of the screen or are most walking past the screen?”
A lot of standard design issues apply, O’Connor adds. “Make sure your text is readable, and that your pictures have the right aspect ratio.”
Lyle Bunn, an independent advisor at Bunn Company, who has assisted in hundreds of digital signage deployments, adds, “Keep in mind that you need 1 inch of text size on the display for every 10 feet of distance to a viewer.”
In addition to distance and viewing angle, content planners need to understand a viewer’s “dwell’ time — how long they’re likely to be looking at the display, or able to, says Dave Dolejsi, senior content strategist at St. Joseph Content, which is part of St Joseph