We’ve talked in the past about the ever narrowing line separating digital signage from interactive kiosks. (If I can interact with a sign, is it still a sign?) Here I’d like to move past the distinction and talk about key requirements for, let’s call it, interactive digital signage. It’s 2014, the traditional signage industry is well commoditized, looking to interactivity as a new and verdant frontier. What are the must-haves for modern, effective interactive digital signage?
Ok, this is a no-brainer. Interactive signage needs to be interactive. But I’m not just talking single touch displays. Today’s consumer uses multi-touch tablets and gesture-driven game systems on a daily basis. Their savvy and expectation is quite high. Interactive signage must support massive multi-touch (10 concurrent touch point, 32 touch points, 64 …), gesture controls, mobile devices, connected objects (like Ninja Blocks) and wireless tag technologies like RFID, NFC and Beacon. Ambitious? Sure, but that’s what cutting edge means.
Back to that savvy tablet user. What else do they expect? Highly personalized experiences. For true engagement and stickiness, an interactive digital sign must be personally relevant. If the content is generic, your cool looking and acting signs will lose their luster. Successful interactive signage must be able to both dynamically identify the user and respond with information tailored for his/her profile. What we’re describing is a “connected” deployment in which each sign communicates with both devices (see the Interactive section above) and back office systems and/or public services to access information and business logic. It’s the only way to ensure relevance.
Imagine a highly interactive digital sign with deeply personal customization. This sign unavoidably has a large number of possible paths contingent on selections made by your user. What burden does this place on design? Not only must you capture attention but, once captured, that attention must be guided intuitively and (here we are again) engagingly. The signage must be both efficient and rewarding to make it worth the user’s time. Flat, single touch buttons with simple layouts and a narrow list of media formats will either lose the user in mediocrity or lose them in a confusing jumble of undifferentiated content. Designers of these signs must be freed to be highly expressive.
Modern, effective interactive digital signage needs a platform enabling a wide range of interactive options, a deep level of connectedness to dynamic systems and a broad range of expressive capability to put any design concept within reach.
It’s a tall order for traditional signage vendors.
It’s also why IntuiFace throwing is its hat into the digital signage ring. IntuiFace fulfills all of the above requirements - and you don’t even have to write code.