Our Predictions All Came True…

Back in 2007, one of our blog posts predicted that the “traditional” sign industry trade associations would be looking at dynamic digital signage as the new frontier. That, we can now boast, is a prediction fulfilled. See our July post of 2007 for the exact prediction for the International Sign Association’s involvement to come. That day has come!

Digital sign pioneer and explorer, Lyle Bunn, Strategy Architect, published this in Digital Screenmedia Association news:

Enter the massive base of static sign and digital graphics providers. It is telling that both the Screen Graphics Industry Association (SGIA) and International Sign Association (ISA) have dramatically increased their focus on digital signage in their respective October and April Las Vegas conferences.

How about another prediction – one so important we built our entire LobbyPOP premise upon it. We began our foray into electronic digital signage in 2006 after extensive research, specifically choosing an “Edutainment” format for our own specialized content. LobbyPOP content is very recognizable, and always provides engaging graphics, quality video, voiceover and music to present interesting and important facts about a particular industry’s products and services. We dubbed this “edutainment” as a reflection of the education and entertainment value encompassed in quality content. Now, without blowing our own horn too much, this year in March, Digital Signage Today featured an article which touted a “new” concept, “Infomercials coming to digital out of home.” Wow- the sound of thunderous applause here at LobbyPOP headquarters! 

In a move that in hindsight seems incredibly obvious, advertising technology firm rVue has partnered with a direct response TV firm to bring direct response ads to the digital signage networks using rVue’s Demand Side Platform.

 Yes, it seems incredibly obvious to us!

“It is a very exciting time, and we’re really working hard on bringing forward some what-we-believe-to-be-very-important initiatives and solutions for our space,” rVue founder and CEO Jason Kates said in a recent phone interview.

As anyone who follows our blog knows, we squirm when the words “important” “initiatives” “solutions” and “our space” are all in the same sentence.

“We must be one of the last media in the world who haven’t had this developed as a full-blown opportunity for us,” Kates said.Social Media, Google, Online Content Convergence

Perhaps. Perhaps not… Can it be the new frontier has been soundly mapped already? Hardly! We have much to learn and review when it comes to touchscreens, social media on display, and content delivery technologies. We are eagerly watching developers create the new, converging technologies that will empower screens like never before. We are beta testing some exciting new content delivery vehicles as well! You may therefore be looking for our next big prediction, considering our track record 🙂 Well, we never want to disappoint, so here goes:

We see Google, Social Media, and Microsoft all becoming critical to the digital media platform. What we see also is the confusion this creates in the marketplace, as clients and media providers try to sort out what is relevant and important. Of course, we have some thoughts on these subjects. You’ll have to read our next posts to learn more…  Remember our motto: A Step Ahead… is a Great Place to Lead!

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Part 4: CLEVR Readability for Dynamic Digital Signs

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. Visibility and a great tip for improved dynamic signage was presented in Part 3. If you haven’t read up on the premise, do so with the links above.

And now, to complete the series, Readability is our subject today!

A readable display allows people to quickly and accurately recognize and understand information, in particular, alphanumeric characters. The message should be clear and unambiguous. In traditional sign design, a few words to convey important information is all that is required. The same can be applied to dynamic signage. Again, these displays are not television. It is not a seated audience, for the most part, watching the screen with no other distractions. In an ideal world, there would be nothing but the screen. In reality, there is likely to be other signage, noise, people milling around, and multiple distractions. The dynamic display message, therefore, should be built much like static signage.

This means the concept of readability takes on great importance. If you have only a few minutes to engage your viewer, you should make certain your message is readable – that the message is conveyed quickly and clearly. While we love our HD content, LobbyPOP always includes on-screen text and clear voice-over in bite-sized chunks to assure no part of the message is obscured or lost. Text is often white with a pin-line outline, to assure it shows clearly on any motion background.

Dynamic Signage displays are alphanumeric displays, using letters and numbers, along with graphic images and sound, to convey messages. The contrast ratio for the characters is an important element in readabiliy and legibility.

ReadabilityIn their book, Human Factors in Simple and Complex Systems, Robert W. Proctor, Trisha Van Zandt explain that under optimal conditions, for black text on a white background, the font stock width-to-height ratio is ideally 1:6 to 1:8. For white characters on a black field, the optimal ratio is 1:8 to 1:10. Thinner lines for white on black images are required because of a phenomenon called radiation or sparkle. This is where the light color “bleeds” together due to the contrast -the eye’s reaction.

Keeping the core message concise, and the entire message in a ten to fifteen second clip, is a good rule of thumb. This does not mean that a 30-second spot is not desirable. On the contrary, the core message can be emphasized and repeated in ways that assure readability and recognition. This is the heart of all advertising: Repetition. So whereas traditional static signs can be read several times over in the space of a few seconds, thereby assuring a point is communicated, a dynamic sign can enhance this and “force” repetition upon the viewer by repeating the same points in slightly different ways, with supporting information in concert, much like bullet points in a presentation. 

How many words? How much information per minute? We have validated that seven words or less for the core messaging, and up to eight supporting messages within a 60-second spot can be read and comprehended.  So go forth and multiply your advertising!

Next post: The Power of Imagery – why this is in the wheelhouse of dynamic digital signage!