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Whether you’re installing digital signage in a commercial, business, retail, or urban environment, how and what you share is important. Your digital signage has the potential to engage visitors and audiences, to share memorable and effective ads, and to add value in ways that extend beyond simple displays. However, you have to implement it effectively to do so. Digital signage best practices include how, where and when you share media, how you set up your digital signage network, and how you manage it.

While your best practices will change depending on your business type, model, and consumers, the following tips will put you on the right track to making the most out of your digital signage network.

Choose Hardware for Your Location

Your digital signage network should be comprised of numerous signs and solutions, and they should come together to form a cohesive whole. However, you should not necessarily have the same displays installed at every location, simply because viewing angle, distance, and implementation of the display will be different.

For example, touchscreens should logically be installed 36-45 inches above the ground, be equipped for accessibility, and have accommodations for persons in wheelchairs. LED screens must be viewed from a minimum distance of about 6-10 feet. Outdoor displays must be significantly brighter than indoor displays.

How can you achieve a balance of hardware that works together to create a cohesive whole? A needs assessment, determining where signage should go, which displays are a best fit for the area, and which support the same technology is a good start. From there, you can make choices to ensure that everything runs on the same system, is in the same color, and offers similar levels of quality inside its environment.

Incorporate Smart Digital Signage Software

Modern digital signage allows you to incorporate smart technology to interact with consumers, share real-time data, or offer interactive content such as menus and wayfinding. Achieving this means choosing quality smart digital signage software. Different programs will offer different results, but you primarily want to ensure that your software runs on all your existing or desired hardware, that it runs in your environment and over your networks, and that it meets your application needs. For example, if you want to use SoC and update it remotely or while on a moving vehicle, you have to ensure your software supports that as a base function. It’s important that all your signage runs on the same software, or you will have inconsistencies in display quality, style, and appearance.

Expand Beyond Local Environment

Smart signage creates opportunities for signage that does more than simply share ads, it allows you to engage with your environment and the outside world. Here, you can integrate anything from real-time data like weather and time of day to update content to social media feeds and streams. Your application should depend on your consumers, but applications are numerous.

For example, convention halls and hotels typically use digital signage for branding, wayfinding, and advertising. Expanding that to include public transport timetables, taxi advertisements, menus for local restaurants, and even airport flight times would add a great deal of value for the consumer.

Similarly, installing self-help kiosks in a retail store, where consumers can access a web shop, place orders, or pickup online orders greatly adds to the value of digital signage. Your goal should be to add to your displays, so that they incorporate and offer more to viewers. This will increase their value and impact, while reducing the disruption and annoyance typically caused by signage.

Keep it Simple

Your hardware, display content, and display placement all greatly impact the aesthetic of your signage, its impact, and customer perception. A best practice here is to manage simplicity to avoid clutter, over stimulus, or conflicting screens and signs. This means carefully planning how and where displays are positioned, fitting signage into your environment based on blank space, and using screens that fit well together when placing several of them.

Here, you want to consider how many screens a person can see at once, whether the content on those screens aligns at any given time, and what the viewing pattern for that area is. For example, are customers viewing signage straight-on as they walk into your store? Are they seeking out signage to use as wayfinding or for information? Are displays situated in a waiting area where they should be visible from specific areas? Streamlining signage so that you have enough displays to cover your visual area and needs without creating clutter is important for managing the cohesion and absorption.

This same message applies to visual content, because the information shared on your screens will create cohesion, clutter or clarity, and so on. Your goal should be to create clear visual hierarchy, simple and obvious call-to-actions, and screens that share intended messages as succinctly as possible. The further consumers are from your screens, the simpler messaging needs to be. This does mean that it’s often not a good idea to put too much content (weather, IPTV, Queue wait list time, etc.) on the same screen because it will be cluttered and difficult to pay attention to any one thing. Instead, you could design a simpler layout where you scroll between different desired display elements, occasionally updating consumers on the time, weather, or remaining wait-time and airing ads or news or something else in between.

Meet the Needs of Your Audience

Different people expect to see different types of signage, have different needs, and will respond to different messages. For example, if your audience is largely composed of millennials, social media, smartphone interaction, and interactivity would likely be very appreciated. If your audience is much older, they might not know how to benefit from these technologies anyway and you’d be better off installing a very strong standard display system with any interactivity options geared towards simplicity rather than offering more features.

Similarly, your digital signage hardware should meet the needs of your audience in that signage should be at a comfortable viewing height and distance, should meet general readability standards, and should meet or exceed expectations for quality and content.

No matter where you’re planning to install digital signage, it’s a good idea to assess your hardware and software needs based on the environment, content, and your audience, and proceed from there.