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Vital Considerations

(February 2014) posted on Wed Feb 05, 2014

The importance of location and content in dynamic signage.

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By Beth Osborne

Think about the screen as regions: You can create six different regions with that rectangular space – three regions might be static text areas, but the other three regions might have elements of continuous movement featuring different items for sale (those that yield the greatest profit).
How does this impact how the customer views the content? There’s engagement; interest is generated. The mind enjoys watching the transitioning images while also reading and reviewing the information provided. Using our menu-board example, having the perfect mix of static text and movement allows diners to make decisions more quickly and be ready to order, producing greater efficiencies. As an added bonus, enchanting content also creates a reduced perceived wait time – customers believe they have waited in line less time than they actually have.

Text rules to live by
The final content component is text. Rules for text are fairly easy and common sense, but they can be overlooked. So here are three important text rules to always keep in mind: be sharp, be simple, and always stand out.

• Sharpness: Determine font size by the number of words, the size of the screen, and the view (positioning of the screen relative to the customer). If it’s important for someone who is standing six feet back to be able to read the items, then you need to determine at what size the words become indistinguishable. If the wording can’t be condensed, then the size of the screen might need to be increased (or perhaps add to the number of screens being utilized). Another options is to scroll or transition text that’s less necessary.

• Simplicity: Condense and edit text whenever possible. For instance, again using our menu board example, if every combo comes with the choice of side and drink, then include the text once at the top or bottom – not under every entrée. Another simplicity example is to use verbs to promote an action rather than attempt to list all the benefits or features of an item or service.

• Standing out: When it comes to text, contrasting colors always help to draw the eye and enhance readability. White text on a black background is a significant contrast, for instance, while green text on a gray background is a poor combination. I see this rule violated constantly, and it seems so instinctual. The more pop that’s created by contrast, the more visually stimulating the message will be.

Your advantages
If you have concerns about the barriers to entry for dynamic signage – heavy competition, capital investments, and required expertise – that’s understandable. But keep in mind the particular advantages you have as well: Because of your work with wide-format digital print, you’re already familiar with many of the challenges in location and content when it comes to graphics. Placement, working with and enhancing visuals, ensuring content is both impactful and readable – these are already part of your knowledge base, so you have a step up on competitors who are coming into this market cold. This can create a significant advantage for you as you position your shop to be a full-service merchandising and signage provider. Using the power of what you already know so well can carry you to a successful path with dynamic signage.