Digital Signage in a Universal Design World
Though traditional architectural and wayfinding displays remain the most reliable and established means of communicating information in the marketplace, continual technological advancements and reduced costs have resulted in an increase in the abundance and popularity of digital products in the signage industry. No longer content simply to add electronic flourishes to old buildings, companies are instead modifying already existing edifices and incorporating digital signage into new structures in order to ensure compliance with the accepted principles of universal design.
An interesting article appeared on SignBuilder Illustrated’s website signshop.com that provides a checklist for developing content for digital signage. The philosophy of the digital signage content checklist relates to universal design principles.
The following are but a few of the many factors as to why adherence to this ideology and proper implementation of digital signage can enhance your business.
The most important aspect of any type of signage is also its most basic function: the ability to appeal to the general public. This sentiment may seem obvious, but an attractive display makes a positive first impression and often can determine how receptive customers will be with respect to potential future transactions. One major advantage of digital signage is its capacity to immediately draw the focus of the public eye to information presented electronically. For example, a convention center that welcomes visitors to a tech conference with an interactive kiosk complete with an operational touch screen is providing the attendees with a memorable experience with a dash of modernity. Such a display caters to the sensibilities and expectations of that particular group, yet is adaptable enough to suit the needs of the next assemblage of people.
Architectural and wayfinding signage offer many solutions to prospective companies, but one drawback to going the traditional route stems from its rigidity of form. This approach necessitates the creation of multiple indicators, each one detailing specific information. However, because it can be programmed to constantly update itself with new data, just one digital product can perform the same functions as several conventional signs combined. This is an excellent way for small business owners to condense expenses and to make more efficient use of their space. Large entities like universities and hospitals can also flourish with the correct amount of digital signage; directing students and guests, respectively, to the proper areas can be accomplished with relative ease, and it is a quietly effective way of advertising individual outlets such as cafeterias and bookstores.
Whether it serves the purpose of branding, providing direction, advertising or all of the above, the magnetic lure of a brightly illuminated screen cannot be underestimated. A significant segment of the population, though, requires that greater concessions be made in order to facilitate the use of technology, and digital signage allows for these provisions.
While it is not the stated goal of universal design to follow the dictates of the ADA exactly, the law certainly influences architectural planning. Likewise, the flexibility of digital signage allows developers to make suitable accommodations.