Today, digital signage has spread to every single supermarket aisle, bus stop, and food outlet you can imagine. But this steady increase in digital signage usage is making people bored and blinded by these flashy screens. And no matter how gorgeous or vivid the motion graphics, or how elaborate the video editing, it all becomes visual “noise” that people neglect.
One way to prevent digital signage blindness is by thinking from the audience's perspective, considering the size of your signage format, and applying big-scale visual patterns etc.
Digital signage is becoming common in architectural environments, with widespread adoption in out-of-home marketing, menu systems, retail branding, and wayfinding.
What causes digital signage blindness?
According to studies, only 11% of UK consumers can say that they like the digital signage they see. But why is it so? The dropping cost of digital screens and cloud-based content distribution is making digital signage more appealing to organizations. And they tend to add more “digital” into their physical locations. Owing to such factors, the implementation of digital signage is increasing, which is wearing out the audience’s attention.
Alongside this, what else is creating digital signage blindness?
- Outdated Formats
Digital signage does not always resonate because the creative formats used are out of style on the display. Forcing old formats to stay in view at all times, or retargeting users may lead to a bad performance. Thus, these video formats are non-skippable in the long term and could damage your brand.
- Treating customers as 'the product'
Consumers are often portrayed in the industry as wanting everything for free online. This logic justifies treating users as ‘the product’ rather than the customer. Using digital signage for collecting customer data through non-transparent methods and focusing on revenue rather than user experience portrays consumers as less important than the digital advertising ecosystem.
How to prevent it?
The following strategies can be used to capture the attention of your audience and prevent digital signage burnout:
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: If you have digital signage but are also a personal user of an ad blocker on your browser, consider why. If you dislike a particular ad format outside of work but still sign them off within a plan, then reconsider. Understanding what it is that you don't like to see will highlight what you do like to see and you can target your digital signage there
- Break the scale: Making a digital surface become architectural in scale can help. Going big can lead to grabbing people's attention before they even recognise they’re looking at a screen. LED Video Wall screens of 80-100” in portrait orientation can display images of humans at a 1:1 scale. It immediately creates a more immersive presentation. Modular LED Video Walls can go to any size, but going small represents another opportunity. Screens arranged in linear strips can front every shelf in a supermarket. It will place in-store digital messaging right at the product and in the direct eyeline of your customers.
- Break the proportions: People have become so comfortable with 16:9 screens that screens of the same size don’t even get a first glance. Screens are now available in various proportions, from square to ultra-elongated. And LED screens are modular and can be assembled to any proportion or shape desired. These alternate proportions immediately make more distinctive and attractive visual compositions.
- Think from an audience perspective: Forcing old formats to stay in view, or video formats to be non-skippable may be good for a short term gain but not regularly updating the content may cause longer-term damage to your brand.
- Create unified geographical experiences: The key difference between TVs and structural digital media is that structural apps can become immersive. Whereas discrete screens remain isolated and limited to only our acute vision. Architectural compositions are created using digital lighting/pixels/screens of various proportions, scales and resolutions with a mixed visual view. These compositions immediately beg for a comprehensive content vision. It exploits individual pieces to create a unified experience for the users.
- Be transparent about your motivations: If you are paying for an influencer to advertise your product, make that clear. If you are capturing user data, tell people and allow them to opt-out easily.
- Apply big-scale visual patterns: Overlaying motion graphics or pattern effects at a big scale. It also creates a dramatic visual impact. In fact, a leap in scale from a typical TV screen to an encasing architectural experience changes the perception of digital content. Even simplistic content becomes dramatic at an architectural scale.
- Use customised content: Rather than resorting to “canned” media content, consider using live data or tailored, reactive media content that can bring the digital experience alive.
- Layer visual acuity: Humans have a 2° cone of vision. It represents our active attention field remaining 100° of our vision is peripheral. This provides a broad understanding of our environment at a very fast speed. But, this fast speed of human vision is often ignored in digital signage solutions. Through your normal vision, you can become immersed in an experience before even consciously recognising it. The core problem with digital signage today is that discrete high-resolution screens target only limited active attention. Thus, making it poorly suited for capturing our enormous peripheral attention. And mixing high-resolution screens with medium resolution or low-resolution can present distinctive visual effects at progressive distances. It immediately breaks the knee-jerk perception of these surfaces. And portray it as a dumb screen that is not worth our active attention.