Digital signage is big business, and video walls are helping to lead the market. According to experts at the Digital Signage Expo, video wall sales will reach 1 million units by 2015 and will experience double-digit growth over the next few years.
For value-added resellers (VARs), video walls pose an exciting opportunity for high-profile, high-end digital signage projects. However, with video wall work comes a new set of unique challenges. Of course, the hardware and software is slightly different; but you also must be prepared to tailor the content to the specific scale of each video wall project.
When designing content for digital signage video walls, keep the following six considerations in mind:
1. High-quality content is a must.
With certain digital signage applications, such as wayfinding or corporate announcement boards, some VARs might put a bit less emphasis on the content design phase. After all, the content – rather than the overall look and feel – really is king in many projects. But once digital signage is scaled up to video wall status, high-quality content is a must. Check and triple check your work, as even the smallest mistake takes on epic proportions in a video wall installation.
2. Images and text should be right-sized.
Nothing makes a video wall look unprofessional like overly small font and images. Both should be large enough to easily see and understand. Remember: Even though content looks impactful on your computer screen, it might not translate to the super-sized world of video walls. Design with big in mind.
3. Avoid certain effects.
On large video walls, certain graphic effects lead to distorted images, confusing text – and a failed message. For most video wall projects, you will want to avoid shades or glossy effects on text, which will appear distorted on the full-size display. Also, be sure to avoid certain color combinations, which can make text extremely difficult to read. Industry best practices recommend the following color combinations to achieve the best contrast ratio: black on yellow, black on white, yellow on black, white on blue, yellow on blue, green on white, blue on yellow and white on green.
4. Make the most of the technology.
Most often, the goal of a video wall is to create a single, unified display – not the appearance of several screens crammed together. To achieve that seamless look, be sure to consider the capabilities (and limitations) of your hardware and software. Then, design your content to work well in the dimensions of the video wall, using all of the available space and making the most of the technology’s capabilities. Keep in mind factors such as pixel resolution and pitch, which can have a huge impact on the quality of your displayed content.
5. Keep any text as accessible as possible.
Make text easy to read by sticking to Sans serif fonts (in most cases). Also, adjust the amount of text according to the setting. Is the video wall in the middle of a bustling airport? Keep the messaging short and to the point. Is the display part of a memorial, museum or other location where visitors are likely to linger? Then feel free to get a bit more wordy.
6. Carefully weigh simple vs. complex messaging.
Of course, the simpler your text is, the better it will look on large-scale video walls. No consumer wants to read 600 words of text in 200-point font. However, sometimes a more complex message is in order. In some cases, a simple, straightforward ad (think “Nike: Just Do It”) is best. For other projects, the content might need to delve deeper. This is where an understanding of your audience will come in handy, helping to guide you to exactly the right message.
Video walls pose an exciting business opportunity for VARs – but only if the content is done correctly. What best practices have you discovered regarding video wall content? What tips would you share with someone who is completely new to video walls?