Recently, we wrote about how what you’re showing your audience will help you decide which media player is best.
But, creating those awesome presentations for your digital signage is easier said than done.
Content creation is hard.
But, it doesn’t need to be. We’d argue is because most of us over think what we’re trying to present.
Simplicity beats sophistication.
Or better yet, simplicity is sophistication.
In this article, our goal is to guide you towards creating simple and beautiful digital signage that captures your audience’s attention.
Your Digital Signage Audience Is Goldfish
You know the adage that goldfish have the shortest attention spans.
After all, goldfish have an attention span of just nine seconds.
Yours is probably worse (thanks to smartphones, of course).
It’s just eight seconds.
And our friends at Sixteen:Nine (digital signage experts) think that number is really three seconds. At most.
Your audience needs time to understand a message is in front of them, read it and capture their attention.
If we can offer one single piece of advice in this whole post, it’s to keep your presentations simple and clear.
So, while you certainly have access to incorporating many, many different tools, widgets and data onto your presentation, are we saying that it’s better to catch your audience with a simpler message?
We think so.
Readability is what’s most important here for your content.
If someone’s walking by your presentation, can she spot what she’s reading in just a second or two?
If not, your digital signage might have a readability problem.
And you might not be catching those goldfish!
The Best Digital Signage Content Is Simple
Our app offers many, many different ways to customize your presentations.
Whatever you’re imagining in your head can be created.
And when the app doesn’t explicitly deliver what you need, our audience always seems to figure out some sort of clever workaround for creating their digital signage content.
But, while customizability knows no bounds in our app, we’d advise you to proceed with caution. And just because you can use a widget or custom tool doesn’t mean that you should.
Since readability is most important, is your presentation’s message clear? Does your audience have enough time to read it while walking by? Can you capture someone’s attention from across the room or hallway with your presentation?
If the answer to any of the above questions is no, there are several different methods to improving the readability of your presentation.
To start, is the most important part of your message highlighted?
And Is it static?
We frequently see presentations that started off great, have a clear message but the creator thought that it looked “boring,” so he added an animation or spiced up the colors.
The most important parts of your digital signage presentation should always be static. Motion - whether it be scrolling or animation - interferes with our ability to read things quickly and coherently.
A Digital Signage Content Test
Below, we made a few images to demonstrate the importance of readability and simplicity.
These principles should help to guide your content creation. If someone can’t read your message clearly in three seconds, then the likelihood of him engaging is essentially zero.
We’re worse than goldfish.
You might think that “simple” is boring.
But, simple is effective.
What Will Your Digital Signage Content Say?
The world’s simultaneously most accurate and most frustrating answer:
The most important question to ask first is what’s your purpose of your digital signage?
What’s the intended outcome you want to have happen?
It is to inform? To engage? To persuade?
Once you’re sure of how you want your audience to react, next up is the hard part. It’s deciding what message will be most effective to compel your audience to act (or, at least, pay attention). But, experimenting with the message and trying different messages will always lead you closer to figuring out what’s optimal.
Capturing the attention of your audience with your digital signage presentation is not too different from a website capturing your attention when you head to it for the first time. When you head to read something on a site that you’ve never been to, you’re immediately determining whether or not this content is worth diving into further.
If you can think of what you find especially compelling when you head to a new site (or even what you find particularly annoying or bothersome), it’ll help guide you towards keeping your message clear, readable and simple.
What’s Your Message’s Call to Action?
Of course, you’ve been to a website asking you to “sign up” without fully realizing what you’re getting yourself into.
“This all seems great, but what am I getting when I signup?”
Ideally, your content has already presented a compelling reason to your audience why it should act. Let’s assume that your message effectively has.
If your message needs to be simple and readable, your call to action must be clear and concise.
With your call to action, it’s your responsibility to tell your audience exactly what you’d like them to do.
Tell them what to do.
^ Like that.
A strong verb helps your audience to realize now it’s their responsibility to either affirm or dismiss your message. And some of your audience may decide to disagree with what you’re stating or otherwise not comply. That’s alright. At least they understood the choice presented!
When you use language that intentionally pokes and prods, you’re better off. Words that insight emotion capture your audience’s attention more effectively. You are, after all, seeking a strong response from your audience. You’re compelling them to act.
To note, some of our audience even likes to use an exclamation point to affirm their call to action!
Your Digital Signage Content Strategy Works Like How Google Works
Google sorts its results by relevance.
Maybe you even ended up on this page because of your search there.
And just like Google, your message must be relevant to your audience.
To be relevant, usually that means that your digital signage content must be current. Your content must be updated frequently so that your audience is compelled. Some of our audience even uses a content calendar as a reminder to change content frequently.
After consistently hearing the need for easily customizable content, we created a library of dozens and dozens of different templates for you to choose from. With new additions coming every month, these templates allow you the flexibility necessary to keep content fresh.
Some of our customers have even created content creation calendars in which they schedule time to either add new templates or update their presentation content.
If you’re curious about trying out unique digital signage ideas or examples, we made a list of 101 Digital Signage Content Ideas for you to explore.
An Example of How Our Audience Keeps Digital Signage Content Relevant
We spoke with Lee Mallon, a receptionist (and now digital signage guru) at Mt. Bethel Christian Academy, to learn how she keeps her content relevant.
Lee uses digital signage to update the school’s weekly menu, sports scores and upcoming events.
Her digital signage display serves the same purpose as what bulletin boards used to.
After her IT expert (Chip, a fellow excellent human) set up the school’s digital signage software, Lee was handed the responsibility of keeping presentation content current.
By using the templates that she created, updating presentation content is as simple as changing text.
And, we’ve got to say, that her presentation content looks awesome.
Because Lee’s presentations reacts to real-time events, students, family and the surrounding community find the content to be especially helpful and relevant.
Whether it be the weekend Chick-fil-A fundraiser or their classmates’ football scores, students love stopping by to see the lobby’s digital signage display.
And because Mt. Bethel Christian Academy works closely with the attached church, weekend guests can learn about how they can help with upcoming community events or gatherings.
The Digital Signage Content Creation Checklist
Now that you’re on your way to creating engaging and relevant digital signage content, we made a short checklist for you.
- Can your audience read the most important pieces of your content in three seconds or less?
- Is the most important part of your message static and easy to read?
- Have you determined the objective of what you want your audience to do?
- Does your content have a clear call-to-action?
- Are you keeping your content relevant by refreshing it at least once per week?
If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to chat with you.
We look forward to checking out what you create on your way to becoming a digital signage guru.