The 5 most common design mistakes in digital signage
Believe me, creating well designed content takes practice. Most content creators learn the basics of how to use their digital media software, and stop their education there. I'm here to tell you that there is always room for improvement.
In the first blog of this series, "Design matters in digital signage," I explained how design has a huge impact on attracting and retaining audiences. In this blog, let's focus on what not to do when creating a design. Don't worry, these mistakes are easy to remedy! Make these simple changes and not only will you see an increase in audience engagement but also notice your signage has become the go-to for organization communications.
Here are the five most common mistakes customers seem to make when creating content for their digital signage:
1. Multiple thoughts per slide
Too many ideas, so little time! Where is the audience supposed to focus? Remember, slides play on a time limit, so the audience only has time to digest one idea. With too many messages being displayed at once, the audience is sure to get confused and annoyed. Instead of cramming multiple event details onto one slide, limit messages to one idea: "Picture Day: Friday 13, 2015. Auditorium from 10 a.m.-3 p.m."
2. Text overload
A paragraph in size 10 font will do nothing for your communication. Your viewers have been reading emails all day, the last thing they want to read is an essay on the company picnic. Too much text is a sure-fire way to get people to ignore your message. Instead of listing tons of safety tips, keep messages narrowed down to one sentence: "Be sure to wear protective eyewear before using any machinery." You can break up longer thoughts into multiple slides; just be aware that your viewers may not have a chance to see every slide in your series.
3. No hierarchy
If the visual order of the content doesn't make any sense, your message will be lost. Make sure that the most important part of your message is the first thing your viewers see. The last thing you want is for your message to get lost in the shuffle because you didn't have room for it next to the funny cat meme. Make sure your message gets consumed by making it the largest element on the slide, altering its color to be different than other text or even repeating it a few times.
Static, black text on a white background, no pictures, bland language… Digital signage shouldn't look like a boring legal document. So often do we see amazing digital signage deployments in high traffic areas playing dull slides. Clearly, no one pays any attention to this content. Black-and-white televisions are a thing of the past for a reason; give your material life and color! Use some stock photography to add a visual to your message, or upload photos from your social media sites.
5. Lack of supporting elements
Slides with just words or slides with just pictures will do nothing for communication. The best slides incorporate both text and images. Marrying the two will hit the viewers with an emotion and a call to action. For instance: If the message is about eating right, provide a picture of some freshly washed veggies. You'll capture their attention with the photo, then they'll be more likely to read the message.
And while it is always easier to assign these responsibilities to someone with a graphic design background, it isn't always necessary. Instead of getting overwhelmed and resigning from the design position, you can steer clear of the faux pas listed above. Avoiding those will take your signage to a whole new level of design and improve the effectiveness of your signage communication, readying you for our next blog piece: implementing design best practices.
Kelly Eisel Kelly Eisel is a copywriter for Industry Weapon. As a millennial, she provides a unique prospective to the digital signage world. www