When creating effective digital signage displays, a restaurant or retail store’s main goals should be to get people to look at the screen and, once they do, inspire them to take action based on what they have seen. To maximize the effectiveness of displays, businesses should take into consideration both the content and the design.

In general, digital signage should be both clear and compelling to the viewer – clear meaning that they are able to understand the message within a few seconds, and compelling meaning that they feel the need to react to it. The clearer and more compelling a display is, the higher its conversion rate will be.

Here are a few tips for both digital signage content and design:

Digital signage content

Keep your audience’s needs in mind. Every consumer has needs – something that will help them reach self-actualization, something that will make their lives easier or something that will simply feed them. Depending on the display’s intent, restaurants and retail stores can show how their food or products fulfill a need.

Use action verbs and trigger words. Digital signage is really just one big fancy call to action. In order for viewers to understand the action they are supposed to take, businesses must make that clear by using attention-grabbing words that will strike a chord with viewers. Trigger words include money, health, success, safe and easy.

Make it easy to understand. It isn’t a good idea to words or sentences that are too long, complex or technical – it will be harder and take longer for viewers to understand the message. To maximize understanding, use wording that would allow the majority of the population to understand, rather than a small segment of your target audience.

Incorporate other media. Tech-savvy viewers expect a connected experience. It’s smart for restaurants and retail stores to invite their viewers to interact with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and so on. Much of their target audiences spend time seeing what their friends are saying about businesses, including reading restaurant reviews, viewing brand-related hash tags and even browsing online menus or catalogs.

Digital signage design

Use contrast and focus techniques. Displays that use dark text on a dark background are not going to stand out – or even be visible – to viewers. Same goes for light text on a light background. It’s important to effectively use contrast so viewers can easily read and understand the messaging, as well as pick out the most important elements. Focus techniques can also help certain parts of the design stand out. Bold headlines, graphics, bright colors and size variation can be used to highlight the most important element.

Follow the 3 x 5 rule. As mentioned, viewers should be able to read and understand the message within a few seconds – especially on displays where content changes every few seconds, they have no choice. Don’t clutter your design with much text or too many images – and make sure the text is large enough that it can be read from a few feet away. The 3 x 5 rule dictates that content is to be no more than three lines at five words each, or no more than five lines at three words each.

Keep text styles simple. Again, the goal is to allow the viewer to get a clear understanding of the display within a few seconds, so text styles should be as legible as possible. Stick to simple, sans serif fonts and use underlining and italics sparingly. Bolding, on the other hand, can make a message pop.

What will your new designs look like?