We live in the future. Advancements in computing and visual technology over the past decade have been exponential. Consumers have an insatiable appetite for the newest products that will simultaneously entertain, inform and improve their quality of life. This, coupled with the development of cloud based storage and the integration of the internet of things, has driven innovation. The signage industry is inextricably linked to this digital expansion, evolving in step with these innovations. From static signage, to dynamic data driven applications, to fully interactive displays; an application developer must be able to seamlessly create content that can meet the needs of a wide range of clients and audiences. To that end, here are some approaches a signage content developer can take to stay ahead of the curve.
Speak multiple languages
From one project to the next you will need to develop applications that offer various features. While many of the leading signage design software providers and management systems are efficient in the styling and creation of static signage, they are frequently behind the curve when it comes to interactivity. Because of this, you may be forced to work with multiple software developers. Many of whom use different programming languages requiring you to be flexible for the purposes of customization beyond the limitations of the design software.
Understand Hardware & Network Limitations
Dynamic and interactive applications can be resource hogs. Frequently, your client’s hardware budget will restrain the performance of the player that your application will be running on. Because of this, some of your desired functionality may be beyond the capabilities of the hardware. When planning with your client, be sure they understand the minimum required network and hardware requirements needed to make their vision a reality.
Maintain Design Principles
While the inclination is to make your application dance with all the bells and whistles currently available to a user experience developer, it’s easy to go overboard and produce a cluttered mess. To avoid this, maintain a hierarchy of content through visual unity. You want to ensure your signage is unique, stylish and modern while maintaining balance and functionality. Also, keep your design plan in line with your client’s brand. Learn their guidelines and research how they approach styling to ensure your application does not interfere with their standards. Additionally, if your application is interactive, you want it to be intuitive. Meaning, there should be no question of how the user will navigate the experience.
Have Fun and Be Creative
Developing user experiences for digital signage is a great creative outlet. You can synchronize multiple screens and smart devices to create a multi-dimensional experience. Or you can experiment with different video wall layouts to create artistic signage solutions. The possibilities are vast and ever-changing. Keep a list of ideas that you want to develop and build proof of concept examples.
As a designer and application developer, this is an exciting time to be in the digital signage industry. Technology and innovation continue to bring new capabilities that will further set the stage for new ideas and concepts.