Part 3: CLEVR Visibility for Digital Content Design

If you are following this series, you know we are talking about the science behind good sign design, and how this applies to digital sign content as well. In our first post, we reviewed content considerations as  a whole. This brought us to Part 1, CLEVR acronym for Conspicuity, Legibility, Visibility and Readability. We reviewed Conspicuity and what it means in the application called Dynamic Signage. Part 2 discussed Legibility, and how this relates to dynamic content for digital sign systems. If you haven’t read up on the premise, do so with the links above.

Today we are examining Visibility, one of the key elements guiding good sign placement and design. This is perhaps one of the most overlooked factors in digital sign system development. As we create stunning graphics, clever messaging, and build meaningful news and live feeds into our dynamic signage, then make sure our sign is conspicuously placed in its new location, we are not looking at visibility the way that traditional sign professionals do.

Visibility is characterized much as you would expect: It is the aspect of “being visible” period. When a sign first becomes visible, you may not yet be able to read or hear the content. You can see the screen flickering in that bright blue fashion indicating an exciting message. With on-premise signage, you can see the illuminated beacon of the Golden Arches in time to cut across three lanes and safely grab a burger. Back a block or two, you couldn’t read the daily specials – all that mattered at that distance was that the sign was visible.

Too often, digital sign screens are placed where you can’t see them until you enter the immediate zone in which they are displayed. This may be appropriate where a touchscreen is used, for instance, to determine the right mattress to purchase, as you stand in the bedding department of the box store. But when signs are to be used for creating awareness of products, guiding shoppers through your facility, or for advising of coming events, these displays are often a few feet lower than they should be. This is likely a phenomenon that comes from the deep hold that our living room television has on society. It is hard to separate digital signage from television, at least in our minds. We are conditioned to expect the screen to be at eye level.

Making Signs VisibleWhat eye-level means for a digital display is that the dress racks, or the cubicle walls, or simply masses of people are blocking visibility of the screens. By installing the screens overhead, instead of at eye level, we achieve maximum reach, better engagement, and more attention. This is the Visibility Factor that LobbyPOP classes address.

For a good example, think of airport signs that show your gate, and your luggage carousels.  These are overhead, visible from far down the corridor.  Want to do a better job with dynamic digital signage? Consider installing more of these screens six feet or higher. Might mean a larger screen is in order, but is that really such a bad thing?

Next and final post in this series: Readability! CLEVR!

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For Digital e-Sign Professionals

You may be a Digital p-Sign Professional – offering every wide-format digital print product your clients need. You could also be a Digital e-Sign Professional – giving customers electronic digital signage as well. While “e” and “p” are only 11 characters apart, there is a world of difference between print and electronic mediums. Thus far, over the past three years of engagement with the digital print sign industry, we have verified that the electronic medium presents some challenges for anyone who works in digital print and static signage.

Here are the most common hurdles, and how we address them:

  • File formats and square pixels. To create stunning wide-screen images, and provide the quality your client either expect now, or will expect soon, you have to know a tremendous amount about non-linear video rendering, frame-rates, aspect ratios, and how these translate from one program to another. You will want to allow for long rendering periods – far longer than even a grand format digital print file – if you are crafting a five-minute edutainment sequence. Workaround? The content can and should be created by experts, and delivered to you for your client’s playlist.
  • Choosing one delivery system over another…. and understanding what the heck you are talking about. Digital print experts are able to quickly ascertain the substrates needed for a particular sign, indoors or out. In addition, mounting hardware, installation services – these are all slam-dunk easy parts of the visual communications package. But start talking about wired, vs. wireless, vs. all-in-one systems, vs. push technology, vs. pull technology, vs. cloud-based, vs. RSS feeds, vs. traffic cams, video feeds and existing collateral, and you have digital soup. Solution? Start with a simple questionnaire that places the focus on the client’s abilities and needs. A Q&A logic tree will lead you to the perfect solution. In this way, you focus on the user experience and find a system that is truly usable.
  • Knowing what to ask a customer and how to present this technology. We’ve seen more digital signage installations in the past year alone than we’ve seen in the previous six years combined, because it helps brands and retailers who are struggling to find creative, affordable ways to increase sales and amplify the message.  That is the foundation of what we do at LobbyPOP: we build on this experience, and provide an affordable Digital Sign Expert certification course which addresses this very issue.

 Next post: Media Development