Five pieces of digital signage advice from America's forefathers
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By Howard Smith, founder and director, Dynamax
4 July 2012
Benjamin Franklin offered some sound advice for digital signage users
While our friends from the States celebrate Independence Day, we on the other shore of the Atlantic at Dynamax thought we'd bring out some history. Hopefully these quotes from famous American statesmen will help you remember the basic principles behind digital signage – you'll see that America's forefathers actually provided us with some advice.
Benjamin Franklin: "Either write something worth reading about or do something worth writing about." In other words, don't use boring or unprofessional digital signage content. Remember that what works on other platforms (such as longer videos on your website) might be totally unsuitable for your screen.
John Jay: "I saw one excellency was within my reach. It was brevity, and I determined to obtain it." Keep it short is a golden rule in today's scheme of things, but when it comes to digital signage displays it's crucial. Say what you have to say with imagery, short videos and a few words. Your chances of catching attention and delivering your message will only increase. Make sure you avoid these content errors that could slash your system's ROI.
John Adams: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Everything related to your digital signage project should be based on factual considerations, starting with your screens' location – (have you mapped your viewer's journey and identified the key spots?) and its content (what kind of information and when would resonate with your audience?). Facts should also rule the discernment about suppliers' offers and the decision to stick with one in the end. You may want to check this list of questions you should be asking yourself before going for digital signage.
James Madison: "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." If you want your investment to pay off, offer something valuable to your audience, whether this is your staff, your students or your customers. Some software allows you to send timely messages in a variety of formats (videos, images, RSS feeds) so that your communications look and sound good.
Thomas Jefferson: "Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." When it comes to digital signage, fresh content is a must. This doesn't mean that from now on you'll have to commit all your time to updating your screens, but you have to ensure that your communications are constantly refreshed. Utilise RSS, Flickr and Twitter feeds or HTML5 widgets which will automatically pull information from the internet. Alternatively, hire a company that can create and manage content. In any circumstance, don't allow stale content (news and information) to populate your screens for weeks. People will start ignoring the sign, leaving it useless.
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