Hardware, software, tools, and techniques are evolving rapidly. With so much to keep track of, it’s easy to lose your way. Here’s six steps for a successful digital signage deployment:
1. Defining Objectives
It’s vital from the very start to get a clear understanding of your goals for a digital signage project. What are you looking for? Who are you targeting? What message and experience do you want people to come away with? What are the intended outcomes?
Too often, the discussion does not go deep enough and, more importantly, the goals and desired end result are not adequately documented. Without goals and objectives, how do you define success? You can’t succeed without an end-goal in mind. Defining your objectives is time well spent on the front end of a project.
2. Content Strategy
Learn how to avoid the pitfall of not having a clear overall digital signage content strategy. What will define success for this installation? Who will need to be involved in this discussion and planning process?
Strategy is best worked through with the most data you can get your hands on. You can look at data from previous campaigns. What messages connected? What calls-to-action were responded to? If data is unavailable take into consideration what content you have, who does it need to go to, and with what frequency. Content strategy should be built through in-depth conversations and discovery sessions.
Design should be decided around the content strategy that you put in place. Design is a matter of beginning with the end user in mind. Keep in mind what you’re emphasizing, don’t emphasize hardware over the software, content, and overall user experience. It doesn’t matter how many signs get installed if they're not reaching the intended audience. Design matters because it needs to take into account not just aesthetics but considerations of form as it relates to function.
One mistake other integrators make in design is to design just to be seen. Design should be in sync with the experience you’re trying to leave with your audience. Digital signage can now be experienced in many different ways and interactive content is the most immersive of them all. Considering the end user means thinking about how they might experience the content in signage environments. This could include touch screens as well as more elaborate interaction through social media as visitors participate in the design scape.
4. Governance Planning
Planning who will be responsible for which aspects of each part of your digital signage deployment helps to run the project smoothly post installation. Who will update content? Who will take care of the hardware? Who needs to okay content? These are questions to think about before your digital signage is deployed.
Decide on global policies and protocols for how the system will be used, what content is allowed, what’s restricted, and who can change it. The key is to create a hierarchy of content management and ownership of the digital signs. Creating policies around governance and workflow ahead of time will curtail any confusion later.
5. Workflow Development
Governance planning and workflow development often go hand in hand. Here’s where you decide who will be responsible for creating the content, is there an approval process required? Who will be responsible for posting and managing the content inside of the CMS (content management system)?
Ultimately, you want to make the system as easy to use as possible. A user should be able to post their content and have it go everywhere it needs to with “as few mouse clicks as possible” notes Jeff DeHaan, Senior Solution Architect at HB Communications. Your workflow development aims to take your message and post it in as few steps as possible.
Developing a support structure like any other platform or software, your end users will have questions. Who will be responsible for supporting your platform and what is the escalation process? When something’s not working, who do you call?
“Whether you integrate signage support into your technology helpdesk or you utilize our managed services to take on that burden for you, it’s imperative to define a support structure so that users don’t find themselves stranded,” Jeff notes. Advanced monitoring can help you pinpoint problems and fix them before they become your problem. “It’s bringing the expertise, so we can take all of these pieces, based on your strategy, governance, objectives, and say ‘This is what you’re going to do.’ We’ll design your workflows around that. That is what HB can bring to the process,” said Jeff.
Staying on top of potential mistakes before they happen will keep you happy—and save you both time and money in the long run. Deploying a well-structured signage solution takes more work than people often realize. If you feel you need help or if your company is smaller and you don’t have the resources to manage digital signage, reach out to HB Communications. We have the resources to help your digital signage project succeed.