7 rules to deliver engaging content
Is your digital content driving interest and engagement or leaving the audience unimpressed? An Intel study found that digital communications capture 400 percent more views than static signage. But not all digital content is created equal. There are myriad of digital communications strategies and as technology advances, so do the capabilities of content. Less than ten years ago, content was mainly static images with little to no animation and usually of low quality. Advances in LED technologies have allowed for the use of eye-popping animation and transitions. With these new advances, content can now be intriguing, interactive, vivid and can even art.
Content and its context matter greatly when attracting attention and conveying information. Here are a few general rules to help you design effective digital communications:
The objective of the content guides the digital content strategy and drives interaction. Determining the objective is the first step in designing content as it guides the flow and attitude of the communications.
A critically important part of digital content design is determining the targeted audience. The content needs to be applicable to the intended audience or appeal is lost. Certain audiences, such as children or visually impaired, need different communication strategies and layout designs.
Viewer attention span
Most research agrees that marketers have eight seconds or less to capture a viewer's attention. To attract people in such a short time, the most important message needs to be conveyed in a manner where it will be best visually displayed and interpreted within the first eight seconds.
For the best readability of text, use as much contrast in color as possible. Contrast between the foreground and background is one of the most important factors for the ease of reading at any distance. If colored text is used on a bright background, the contrast is not engaging; optimal contrast results in white text against dark colored backgrounds. This significantly aids the reader and allows the font to be legible from further away.
Font vs. imagery
Just like the contrast in colors attracts attention and optimizes readability, easy-to-read fonts allow readers to adapt more quickly to animation and understand the message. Serif fonts are considered the family of fonts that are the easiest to read. Use images over text when possible. If the specific points you want to make can be visually represented as images or icons, then use these instead. Your audience will immediately understand your message. The icons may be universal or specific to your brand.
Animation and transitions
Transitions between messages can signal to viewers that something new will appear next. That transition gives the mind a break to recharge for more information absorption. Also, it's great to have movement in signage to help attract the eye to the change.
Organize content in a logical manner and optimize the layout. Text should always stay stationary while imagery can move. Consider a digital menu board with items and pricing staying in the same place in order to be the most legible. However, in other parts of the screen/menu there can be various food images shifting between menu items, attracting the viewers' attention to the specials.
Overall, digital communications can help drive sales and increase audience interaction, but only if designed correctly. Unclear messages can overwhelm audiences and negatively impact interest. Alternatively, targeted content can deliver effective messages to boost involvement. Eclipse Digital performed a study and found that average sales uplift is from 3 to 5 percent when digital communication is utilized. Average increases of margin per transaction were 2.5 to 3 percent. As well, 29.5 percent of customers find digital communication influential in their purchase.
Image via Istock.com.
Doug Bannister Doug is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Omnivex Corporation. Doug founded Omnivex after 7 successful years in the LED sign software business to take advantage of the newer screen technologies. Recognizing the potential for a revolutionary signage market, Doug embarked on developing software to capitalize on the graphic potential of the emerging technology.