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Best Practices with Digital Signage

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This guide will provide some best practices when implementing your Digital Signage. The guide will also help you make the most out of your signage and provide tips on how to minismise your bandwidth usage.

Understand Your Audience

The audience for a digital signage screen will have different viewing habits in comparison to a TV or computer. These differences need to be taken into consideration when creating and scheduling content.

Distance from Screen

Your audience will in most cases not be sat in front of the screen, understanding the location of your screens and their height and distance are important factors to take into consideration.

On the Move

In general, the audience for a screen will be on the move, in transit from one room to another and, in some cases, may be in a waiting area for a short period of time.

A key consideration when desinging your digital signage shoudl be your the time your audience has to observe the information on the screen and how much attention they can pay to it. Below are several suggested best practices that will help you create content that communicates the required information efficiently.

Video Content

Video content is widely used on digital signage screens and is potentially the biggest drain on bandwidth, the tips below will also help keep bandwidth at a minimum without compromising your content.

Video is a great medium and can be used to provide eye catching content to Digital Signage. When using video, it is recommended to take into consideration the duration of the video. Will a video that is over 20 minutes long be viewed by the audience? In most cases the audience will have moved past your screen within minutes and not view the content that is on display in its entirety.

It is also worth considering duration of content when using Playlists and Content Loops that may include several videos to be played in sequence. The total duration of these items could easily add up to a duration that is greater than 20 minutes.

One way to provide video content in a Digital Signage friendly manner would be to use the simple Video Editor tool in Planet eStream to create a shorter video with clips highlighting the key parts of the content you want to show. For example, a recent sports game may be playing on loop, an audience may never see the best try or goal of the game, but with the Video Editor a highlights video could be created and your audience are more likely to see those magical moments. Guidance on the video editor can be found at the Planet eStream Academy

It is also recommended to consider whether images and photos convey a message more clearly than a video.

Tip for cloud users: When adding content make sure the content is encoded at a resolution and bandwidth to suit your screens. We recommend a maximum resolution of 1920x1080 with a bitrate of 2.0 mbps

Slideshows, Presentations and PowerPoints

It is recommended to upload your PowerPoints into Planet eStream via the screen designer. A common practice is for users to export the PowerPoint as a video so that any slide/content transitions are retained. Animations and transitions can be used to provide eye catching content, but also, they take up time to complete and present all of the information on the screen. In some cases, the content for a slide in its entirety may only be displayed for less than a second. This could result in audiences missing out on key information or even being left frustrated at having to wait for the key information to be presented again some time later.

Tip: If it is essential to export your PowerPoint as a video file a great way to half the bandwidth required is to select the HD720p pre-set in PowerPoint.

Tip for cloud users: A typical 10 slide presentation exported as a set of images is 7% of the size of a presentation exported as a video, providing a much more bandwidth efficient method of delivering content.

Messages and RSS Feeds

The Message Pool feature and RSS support within Planet eStream’s Digital Signage software are great ways to include information from other sources, internally and externally.

As with presentations it is recommended to take into consideration the use of transitions and animations, in this case the use of “tickers”. Ticker feeds originate in the video medium from news channels displaying very short form information regarding stocks and shares. This information is communicated with very few characters, therefore the data that is to be imparted is available instantaneously. Applying the same display method to messages and news headlines is counter intuitive. A message could comprise of a sentence that will not fit on the screen at one time. Someone passing a screen with a ticker may only catch the last half of a message, leaving it meaningless until it scrolls round again. This could once again mean the audience misses the information or is left frustrated.

A five second example of a screen design where a viewer walking by will be unable to fully read two messages.

Screen Design and Layout

The screen design tool allows you to create a layout that includes multiple panels showing various content. It is recommended to take into consideration the distance between the audience and the screen and its location. For example, a screen design that has multiple panels with detailed information will work well in waiting room or staff room, where the audience will be looking specifically for that information and have the time to study the information on display.

If the same screen design is used on a screen in a hallway that is position above head height, then this information will be difficult to read as potentially text size will be small.

It is recommended to create screen designs with basic layouts that allows for key information to be presented clearly. For example, a presentation would want to be in a panel that would take up 90% of the screen area, leaving the rest of the screen to be used for more static content like the time and date.

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