Somewhere along the line, someone didn’t take into consideration the unique aspect of a digital medium and (more importantly) how it’s supposed to be used. A digital menu board isn’t just the menu on an LCD or other HD screen with some animations. A digital menu board is a visual diorama of what’s available, the cost, and options. The best example I’ve seen of this is in Japan with the plastic food.
A visit to Japan will net you amazing and eye-opening experiences and one of them is the plastic food. Items displayed at the restaurant entrance which are eerily exactly WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), down to the sheen on the soup. Amazing, simple, to-the-point. DS (Digital Signage) could learn a lot from this presentation style.
LED Sign systems tend to be more in-line and “get it” than many types of HD displays. This is partially because the average viewing time is somewhere between 3-6 seconds as a driver goes by an LED Sign. Short viewing times mean the message has to be brief. Regardless of the location or image quality, all DS should be like this. Brief – impactful – memorable.
If someone wants to know more about a given food item, they’ll ask. Entice them with images and price and let the DS display be as impactful as possible. Whether it’s a chicken filet sandwhich or information about new dental services – a DS systems needs to be designed in such a way as to grab the viewers’ attention in order to be successful achieving the objective.
Want to reduce perceived wait times? – Quick fun and quirky trivia (with pics if possible).
Digital Menu Board? – Show food and prices with special items animated (especially if the “special item” is something that needs to be sold out ASAP)
Convenience Store/gas station? – Highlight lunch specials, the new milkshake machine, free 72 hour refills on soda w/receipt and special cup, etc.
Airport – Show a map highlighting where a person is and which flights are going out at which gates – maybe even a path to the gate with special mention of food/drink/stores along the way…
When we say too much, we lose the opportunity to leave a positive impression. With DS the important emphasis should be on SHOWING, not telling the important details of the message you’re looking to convey. By simplifying the message and cleaning up the clutter, you’ll achieve your DS goals faster and better than before.