Radees recommends that you follow these guidelines to make the most of your screen designs:

Begin by Designing for Accessibility

Providing access to users with disabilities is not just a good idea, it’s fast becoming the law. A few adjustments will do the trick, and besides, most of these guidelines will help all users:

Text should be easily visible at a reasonable distance from the sign.

  • Always ensure that text colors have high contrast with the background color.
  • Avoid dark backgrounds with neon colors and white characters.
  • Keep your font sizes large, especially for your main messages. To test size, create a test screen with lines of different font sizes and have people view the screen at the farthest practical distance. Remember too that people may view the screen as they pass by.The exception to this would be for screens meant for interaction, where the user is standing directly in front of the sign. Even here, though, keep in mind viewers with older eyes or low vision.
  • Serif fonts work well for long text passages, but digital signs are the wrong medium for paragraphs of text. It’s best usually to stick with sans-serif fonts.

Interactive signs should have alternative accessible designs.

  • Accessible elements (e.g., buttons) must be placed between 36 and 42 inches when measured from the floor.
  • Consider accessibility when designing your wayfinding content (such as stairs and accessible entrances).

Consider Your Sign’s Likely Viewing Pattern

There seem to be three distinct viewing patterns for digital signage:

Point of Transit

  1. When a sign is located in a busy hallway, viewers are likely to see the sign only momentarily as they pass by. Their attention is fleeting and you cannot guarantee at what point in a rotation you may catch their attention. This viewing pattern is best for single, very simple messages that rotate in order to attract attention.

    Examples might include:

    • reminders of imminent deadlines (“Students: drop/add deadline is Thursday”)
    • campaigns to change behavior (“Remember to check Dental Google+”)
    • announcements of an important event happening any moment (“James Earl Jones speaks in Room 210 at noon”).

    Design here should be simple so as not to distract from the message.

    Signs in this viewing pattern tend mostly to be static in nature; that is, users cannot interact with these signs (via touch or other means) in order to accomplish functionality. These are simply signs to be looked at.

    Point of Wait

    When a sign is located in a lobby, by an elevator, near a service desk—anyplace where people are expected to wait for a bit of time—you have more freedom with content. This viewing pattern lends itself to longer messages, and is best for:

    • informative content (upcoming events, directory/wayfinding information, news)
    • brand-building content
    • feel-good content (fun local trivia, positive news, very brief spotlight on a staff member, etc.) that shortens the perceived wait time.

    Design can also be more rich and detailed if desired, as people will have more time to study it.

    Signs in this viewing pattern tend mostly to be interactive in nature, allowing touch input to facilitate user navigation through menus, way-finding via maps, scrolling through content, and use of other functionality.

    Point of Sale

    When a sign is located in a retail space, either near products or by the register, the expectation is that the viewer has a bit more time to read and that the content on the sign may be helpful to him/her in making purchasing decisions.

    Uses for this viewing pattern could be:

    • general information, such as menus of products/services and store hours
    • calls to action, such as announcing a sale, touting a specific product, or making an appeal for donations to a cause

    Strong design may be most important here, where sales rely on brand and visual appeal.

    Signs in this viewing pattern tend mostly to be static in nature.

Keep It Simple

Even in the Point of Wait and Point of Sale viewing patterns, digital signage is not a place for writing paragraphs. It is more communications at a glance, so think of your viewers grabbing snatches of content at a time.

  • Keep your words few and short; rewrite a few times to get it progressively more concise
  • Write in phrases rather than full sentences
  • Use active voice and action verbs

Optimize Your Visuals

  • Simple, relevant images are better than complex ones that draw the attention away from your message
  • When creating graphics or video, specify a size that matches or exceeds the output resolution you have selected. Technology will generally scale down higher resolution media for a lower resolution screen (though perfectly matched media looks best), but low resolution media will not look great on a high-res digital sign.
  • Also use standard aspect ratios (such as 4:3 or 16:9 as much possible for your media, since you may want to repurpose that media. Your layouts are much easier to create if you have consistently sized pieces to work with.
  • When developing a screen with multiple content zones, remember that less (fewer zones) is often more (effective), as too much information will overload and disinterest many viewers. A lot depends on how close your viewers will be to the sign, how much viewing time you expect each person will spend,, the

Call to Action

Getting your viewers to act requires a simple, strong, clear message.

  • Use strong verbs in a concise phrase
  • Give the specifics needed to act (e.g., dates, places, phone numbers, a short URL or QR code)
  • One way to highlight the call to action is by using a text color that contrasts with the other colors used

Consider These Others

  • Time delay

    • If your sign presents a rotating series of screens, consider the environment when deciding the loop length:
      • A medical office waiting room would probably warrant a longer time between screens, as patients have time to read and want to maintain a relaxed ambiance.
      • A hallway where people busily rush by may call for a short delay, as a screen change may grab their attention. Yet the viewer must have time to read the message.
    • For a a refreshing non-pattern feel, try mixing the duration times from screen to screen in a set.
  • Feed the monster

    Keep your content fresh, or your viewers are likely to start ignoring your signs. Strategies for doing this include:

    • Keeping a large stock of imagery to swap in/out
    • Alternating your layouts so viewers notice a change
    • Creating multiple versions of the same message in different looks
    • Varying the time that screens are shown
    • Employing a small bit of motion in a previously static screen
  • Try before you apply

    Before you make a screen public, test it to make sure that what you saw on the computer is what you expected it to look like on the actual signs, especially with regard to aspect ratios and readability from likely viewing distances.

  • Learn your audience

    Try experiments with your content and watch to see which increase dwell time (the time passersby spend actively reading and/or interacting with a sign).