Digital signage outdoor advice: 8 al fresco tips
As we start looking forward to spring and summer, for those of us working in the events space, thoughts also turn to planning and logistics.
It’s now that details take centre stage (excuse the pun), and your nights are filled with dreams of failing WiFi and power outages. And if there’s one area of planning an outdoor event that can cause major headaches, it’s digital signage.
When it goes right, your outdoor digital signage will heighten engagement, and fit seamlessly into proceedings. Get it wrong, though, and you could end up displaying a 50-inch error message. However, follow some simple digital signage outdoor advice, and you’ll be ready for any eventuality.
AwesomeWall at Glastonbury
In this post we caught up with Sophie Barfield, who works at AwesomeWall, to get her top digital signage outdoor tips. AwesomeWall enables you to present user-generated content, such as Tweets and Instagram photos, onto displays of all sizes.
“We have a tool called AwesomeWall, which is a social media gallery, collating posts via a hashtag,” explains Barfield. “For the past few years, we have been invited by the Silver Hayes area of Glastonbury Festival to provide AwesomeWall on their screens around the area. We set up the screens and then moderate all posts throughout the festival.”
Digital signage outdoor tips
Here we present Sophie’s top five digital signage outdoor tips.
1. Go big, go bold
Usually, if you’re working with a digital signage outdoor display, it means it is visible from a huge distance, so your content has to be aesthetically pleasing, and readable both close up and from hundreds of meters away. Limiting the amount of text shown, and playing around with font size helps with this.
2. Test, test, test
Weather is, obviously, the biggest battle and the most unpredictable thing we have to deal with, so ensuring that the hardware can survive in the mud, rain, heat or sunshine is paramount. All of our displays also rely on the internet, so we’ve had to ensure that, not only do we have access to internet, but that we also have a contingency plan; so we use caching with all our images from the web to combat this.
3. Be flexible
Outdoor events seem to be much more unpredictable, so we’ve learnt to be fairly flexible, and to relax with the knowledge that things will get done rather than demanding/trying to get everything done straight away. We’ve learnt that the internet is fairly unreliable when it’s being wired through fields and mud. Also, remote monitoring really helps, so anyone can keep an eye on things, whilst still enjoying the event.
4. Reliability is key
We used ASUS Chromebits for Glastonbury to power the AwesomeWalls. We tested various mini computers and media streamers, but ultimately we needed something really small to tuck behind any screen, and hide out of the way. We also needed something that would run smoothly for five days solidly without crashing. The beauty of the Chromebit was that we could set them up in advance, then we just needed to plug them into a screen and used a mini wireless keyboard to press go. Easy. In our testing, the Chromebits were the most stable for us to rely on.
5. Get your resolution right
Resolutions are key! It sounds simple, but if your display is in the wrong resolution, it’s going to look awful, and you’ll then be in a mad rush to correct it. Size of screen, resolution and expected distance from the screen of the viewer are vital things to consider.
As well as these fantastic tips from Sophie, we’ve include some other areas to consider when dealing with outdoor digital signage below:
6. Make the content work
Digital signage outdoor options are going to reach people who may not naturally be engaged with your brand or service, so there are extra elements to consider. Rather than being in-store, where they could be shopping for products, outdoor signage relies on capturing the attention of passers-by from a standing start. According to retail research data, digital signage audiences are 77 per cent more likely to engage with your content if its animated, rather than a basic static image with some scrolling text.
7. Make it interactive
With so many developments currently happening around contextual signage, through technologies such as BTL, Beacon, Eddystone and more, you can now grab audience attention via their mobile devices. Inviting people to interact with outdoor digital signage as they pass by is a whopping five times more likely to increase user interaction.
For example, to promote the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in Australia, a network of outdoor displays gave passers-by the chance to win tickets by registering their device using NFC and QR technologies.
8. Context and surroundings
Screen don’t exist in isolation, they work best when you consider the environment they are going to be placed within. If you want your screens to stand out, you need to make sure tht you’re employing contrasting colours to the surrounding area. Pepsi’s celebrated augmented reality bus stop in Oxford Street is a great example of how to turn advertising in to an experience.