The Perspective 
Wednesday, 11 March 2015

by Dan Brown - RMG Networks

Have you ever walked into a corporate lobby, retail store, hotel or any venue and thought, “Wow, that digital signage display is too large!”

Humorous, but of course not.

Most of the time, if anything, displays are commonly undersized. Why? Well, while 55” seems large in the intimate setting of your living room watching the latest best-selling blu-ray, the affect may be lost in a different environment with a different purpose.

What do you need to keep in mind when selecting screen size for your business?

A 55” display is the viewable distance from corner to corner diagonally across the screen. Assuming a 16x9 widescreen display, this equates roughly to a height of 27 inches and width of 48 inches.

There are formulae from every TV manufacturer and standards committees such as SMPTE or THX to suggest screen sizes and are mostly geared toward consumer entertainment applications.

Don’t get confused if you start researching the web for the correct formula to use. Your specific application may differ. The important thing is to use a formula (or any formula) as a starting point, not an ending point.

Here are a few examples of different formulas and applications, and their resulting viewable distance.

General at-a-glance viewing or video

    4 x 55” diagonal = 220” (or about 18 feet) viewable distance
    8 x 27” height = 216” (or 18 feet) viewable distance

Reading text or data

    6 x 27” height = 162” (or 13+ feet) viewable distance

These examples assume you are using the entire full screen to display your content. Are you? Often the display is segmented to display multiple content items.

For example, on that same 55” display, let’s say we want to include a side panel graphic. Reserving 12 inches width for this content leaves us with 36 inches of width for our main content which is effectively the same as a 42” display.

This changes our viewable distance from the previous examples.  

General at-a-glance viewing or video

    4 x 42” diagonal = 168” (or about 14 feet) viewable distance
    8 x 20” height = 160” (or 13+ feet) viewable distance

Reading text or data

    6 x 20” height = 120” (or 10 feet) viewable distance

Even though you started with a 55” display, because of the content requirements and screen real estate limits, you are effectively limiting the viewing distance of the display by several feet and shrinking the content. This may or may not be a negative; but it is definitely something that needs considering during the design phase.

Likewise, why put the current temperature nestled in the corner of screen when its “real life” size on a 55” screen is nearly the size of your thumbnail and not truly viewable beyond 6 feet from the display. Is that the intended audience range? Probably not. This is another reason to make sure all content is viewable at your target distance.

Screen size is certainly only one factor of many to consider in your digital signage deployment. It works in coordination with screen placement, lighting, other environmental factors, and of course (and most importantly) content!

So you have a formula to determine display size, but how about content? How large a font should you use to get your message across and easy to read? As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to have 1 inch of font height for every 10 feet in desired viewing audience distance.

Now you're ready to configure your optimal signage and content size.

But, even in our high tech world, old school methods still work.

I was with a customer once who used a properly sized cardboard cutout pattern of a TV they were considering and taped it onto the rich marble wall to get an idea of what it would look like and how much space it would occupy. They used white poster board and markers to write some sample content to understand what font dimensions were required to reach the furthest intended viewer. I thought it was a brilliant idea and was glad to see so much interest and consideration into making sure not only the correct display size was chosen, but more importantly, the proper content size. Well done!

Whether, you use a high tech online calculator or poster board cutouts, you have begun a very important process of considering what is important to you and your viewers.

When budgeting for digital signage displays, it is always easier to add more displays later, rather than try to “right-size” a set of undersized displays already deployed.

It doesn’t need to be a $63M, 362' x 62' behemoth scoreboard like the Jacksonville Jaguars, but definitely give thought to the size of screen required for your application (then maybe even go up one size). As you start the process of determining the correct screen size, here are some questions to ask yourself --

  •     What type and quantity of content will be displayed?
  •     Will the content be displayed full screen or on segments of the screens?
  •     What is the smallest content to be displayed?
  •     How far is the desired viewable distance?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you know the required content size. And, required content size should be the leading factor to your screen size decision; not vice versa.

Posted by: Admin AT 08:19 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  
Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ryan Lepianka
Creative Director
Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.

There is a fascination with studying Millennials since they are a cradle-to-grave digital generation and the heirs to vast purchasing power as their Baby Boomer parents pass the consumer torch. There are some noteworthy contrasts, and marketers should be asking what they need to do to change their stores and products.  

Because Millennials have grown up with a variety of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops, they are considered by some researchers to be more adept at task switching than older generations. Nielsen’s 2012 State of the Media Report identifies characteristics like multi-sensory processing power and response to intense color palettes when comparing Millennials to their Boomer parents.

In planning for marketing to Millennials at retail, younger people may respond positively to more vibrant graphics and interactivity, but there is still a commonality of experience that requires in-store merchandising not to lose sight of the fundamentals.

In the end, the human animal doesn’t change much. We are all looking for a path to an ideal, especially when we’re young. On one level or another we are often searching for a way to become what we perceive to be ‘more than we currently are’.

For example, I’m going to purchase the pair of headphones that costs $100 more than the next pair if it has been effectively communicated to me, that if I purchase THIS product, in some way, I am receiving some of that famous rapper’s DNA. In making this purchase, I am now ‘more’. This purchase is a step on the journey to actualizing my ideal in a real, tactile way.

As designers, we’re most successful when we design a retail piece that sets the stage for that kind of transference. We utilize the most appropriate technology available to extend that offer in a way that breaks through the noise, to make that offer to ‘become’ heard and understood.

I’m curious what you think. Perhaps we’re turning up certain tactical elements of marketing and merchandising to appeal to a younger, purely digital generation while acknowledging some universal common aspirations.

Posted by: Admin AT 10:06 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Wednesday, 01 October 2014

By Julie Rasco
RMG Networks

Isaac Newton once said, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Nowhere is that truer than in corporate environments.

Departments often operate in silos, even in small companies. From different procedures and policies to different software and working hours, organizational silos are part of today’s working culture. The problem with silos is when customers notice. A seamless transition between departments is a critical part of the customer experience.

One area where silos can impact customers is from back-of-house to front-of-house operations. Hotels, convention centers and large corporate campuses have to update their meeting room signage daily to make sure guests know where they are supposed to go. Imagine if this signage was not only automated, but the signs themselves were intelligent enough that a guest could walk up to one and search on it to see where they are supposed to be not only today, but also tomorrow?

This smooth flow of information doesn’t just impact external customers, but has implications for internal communications as well.  Have you ever scheduled a meeting room and found that when your meeting was supposed to start, another group was already there? Or, how about when you’re in the middle of an important presentation and there is a technical glitch and no IT person to be found? An intelligent door display would solve both of these issues by showing who had reserved the room and offering an audio dialing option for room help (more coffee needed STAT!).  

The new era of digital door displays is the perfect bridge for a seamless - internal and external - customer experience. With display sizes up to 21”, you don’t have to pull out your glasses to view the messages, and power over Ethernet designs make for easy installations that don’t require expensive electrical upgrades.

Where am I going? How do I get there? What’s going on today? To find the answers to these questions, today’s cutting-edge companies don’t rely exclusively on concierges, static displays or receptionists – they use the latest in digital door display signage!

Posted by: Admin AT 08:40 am   |  Permalink   |  
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