Content creation is a critical component of the implementation and maintenance of any digital signage network. As that first sentence suggests, it’s not a one-time requirement at kick-off, but an ongoing responsibility in order to ensure that a company’s investment in digital signage pays off.
At Creating Margin we regularly work with companies on all points of the spectrum – networks that are floundering and need a ground-up content creation project, all the way to networks that are in good shape, in need of some tweaking of the content update process. Many healthy digital signage networks can still benefit from a Digital Signage Audit, which Creating Margin can perform in addition (and often prior) to our content creation services. Learn more about our Digital Signage Audit services here.
Let’s consider our approach to content creation for a network that needs a restart. Creating Margin always begins with a needs assessment to be as specific as possible about where a network is succeeding and where it’s failing. While each project is different, a Needs Assessment is normally accomplished through a series of conversations to define a strategic vision for the digital signage investment.
The next step is to plan phased updates according to reasonable delivery times and budgetary constraints. For example, does the client require 6 or 10 content updates each month, and can they afford them? In our experience, digital signage projects are iterative and take time, and customers prefer payments based on delivery, so planning phases of the project are natural.
Now resources can be assigned and the work of creating content commences. During the creative kickoff call, we discover the customer’s brand identity and their creative vision; if these factors are still foggy, we make sure to document this clearly and lend our experience to sharpen the vision. From here we create User Interface (UI) wireframes to plan the method of interactivity, the layers of interactivity, and to facilitate a discussion of the User Experience (UX). Digital signage is influenced by web and mobile UI/UX design, and the CM team often draws from our experience in those projects.
As the engagement evolves from wireframes to creative design, to mockups and then development, we engage the customer team early and often. We have seen that delays can occur when decision-makers are late in getting involved, because new input may alter the creative direction. As a result, we encourage all decision-makers to be involved as early as possible in the engagement.
The development of the working applications can begin once sign off on the design is received. Having agreed on the placement of buttons, the look, and feel of the template, we can break down the pieces and build in transitions, triggers, timings, and more. This is where our experience shines again, as we specialize in digital signage.
For example, have you considered that the majority of users of digital signage are right-handed? Statistics show that 90 percent of the greater population is right-handed, so we factor that into our work with digital signage. Not a problem that you’d normally think about with mobile or web applications, but on large format screens for digital signage, where you place interactive buttons and triggered content can have a huge impact on usability.
Or have you considered ADA accessibility of your digital signage for those in wheelchairs, or with color blindness? We understand these concerns and always factor them into our design concepts and working applications. You’d be surprised how many end-users we speak with who have visual content and even hardware not created to accessibility standards. Failing to meet accessibility standards can expose companies to legal liability and we encourage all of our customers to take these standards seriously.
After completing the working build of an application, we give end users an opportunity to observe, interact with, and otherwise test (QA) the solution. We ask for the end user team to write a list of changes they’d like to see, along with any bugs they have found (unlikely, as we have QA’d the solution ourselves before passing it along). This process may repeat one more time before we implement the software and content solution along with any hardware that may be involved. As discussed, we partner with A/V Integrator partners nationwide. While this may be our first time to mention them in this article, we involve our integrator partners as often as possible during projects to prepare them for what to expect on-site and to be very familiar with the hardware solution that we’ll jointly put into place.
Project completion allows Creating Margin to transition our involvement to ongoing Managed Services, where we provide a bucket of hours on a monthly basis to help in a variety of ways. Continued training at the customer’s pace, help riding out staff turnover, tier 1 and 2 support, and support for content updates are a few of the benefits included in Creating Margin’s Managed Services. Read and learn more about our Managed Services.
In this extensive article, we have walked you through the steps that we take to ensure a satisfactory experience for each and every one of our customers. “It sounds pretty standard” you might say. What really differentiates our services? It is our depth of experience in this industry, our focus on digital signage, and our ability to communicate throughout the process in order to mitigate problems that can all too easily arise in these types of projects.