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Digital signage has become a ubiquitous part of how we engage with businesses and consume marketing content. As this industry has grown, digital kiosks are rapidly displacing traditional display-only digital signage and have been ushering in a new wave of consumer engagement that empowers both businesses and customers. 

Kiosks are part of the future of digital signage. As retail moves away from brick and mortar locations and towards online sales, digital signage will be increasingly important for audience engagement. 

Having digital signage and kiosks is one thing, but using it effectively to leverage its power to engage with your audience is another. There are lots of things to consider when looking at these tools for your business. Finding the right balance of security, analytics, and content management of your digital signage and kiosks will guarantee a greater return on your investment in this digital powerhouse.

How Digital Signage is Changing

Uses of digital signage have traditionally fallen into the following categories:

  • Advertising products and services
  • Entertainment, such as displaying highlights from popular talk shows or films or trivia
  • Communicating information

Digital signage is exploding. According to Microsoft, the number of digital signs in the US has been increasing by 20% per year. Market research firm Markets & Markets projects that the digital signage market will be worth over $32 billion by 2023. This is an industry that is finding ever novel ways to connect with consumers and establish relevance in their daily activities.

A kiosk adds an extra layer of engagement to digital signage by including interactive elements such as touchscreens and user interfaces. Instead of merely reading or watching what is displayed on the screen, visitors will call up information relevant to them, such as viewing sections of maps, learning about the services in the area they are currently in, or finding out what they want to purchase next.

Industries That Are Leveraging Digital Kiosks

Digital Signage Kiosk
Image via Ford

Kiosks are popping up everywhere in our daily lives and the places we visit. Here are some industries that are driving much of the growth in digital signage and kiosk proliferation:

  • Airports: using digital signage for displaying information about baggage, airline offers, maps, and flights, as well as kiosks for checking in and baggage check.
  • Hospitals: signage is being used for patient information for doctors, communication with staffers, maps, and entertainment.
  • Hotels: digital signage and kiosks have been ever-growing in use cases as event management systems, visitor information, concierge services, in-room services, and conference rooms.
  • Education: digital signage increasingly appearing as a way of making announcements and informing of emergencies, as well as student engagement.

Many industries will find they can leverage digital signage and kiosks to engage with their audience and generate a higher conversion rate for their products and services if the use case is well-considered and carefully planned.

Keep Your Content Engaging

No matter the form in which communication takes place, presentation is key to how it is received. When you are designing your digital signage kiosk, you should be thinking about how to make it look beautiful and provide an engaging, exciting experience for its users.

Take the size of your screen into consideration when selecting fonts, and avoid text colors that can be difficult to read clearly. It’s a good rule of thumb to stick to white on black or black on white for the best contrast. Chris Guilder, the CEO and founder of Meridian, a maker of kiosks, recommends a sans serif font. Be sure to give your viewers time to read the text before shifting to the next image to avoid frustration.

Use dynamic images to convey the feeling you want your audience to experience when they consume your content. Moving images can create a feeling of energy and movement, but keep your text blocks static for readability. 

Setting up a digital signage kiosk with a hand sanitizer station allows you to communicate while providing people with hand sanitizer.

The goal here is always to make it easy for your audience to consume your content, not become frustrated by it. Always view your user interface as if you were the one using it and look for rough edges to smooth out.

Location, Location, Location

Having a well-designed digital kiosk won’t help you if it’s placed where people aren’t likely to notice it or understand its role. Locate them in places where your desired audience is going to be waiting, such as lines for a customer service desk.

Zones with lots of foot traffic such as entryways are also excellent choices. Taking advantage of the built-in waiting times of your audience is a critical part of determining the ideal placement for your digital signage and kiosks.

Digital Signage Kiosk
Image via TripAdvisor

Ambient light should also be taken into account. Avoid placing screens where sunlight would create too much glare to read the screen easily. Set kiosks at a level that suits the average height of most of your audience to interact with, and consider setting at least some at a height that accommodates those in wheelchairs.

Secure Kiosks Against Theft, Damage, and Weather

Since kiosks are naturally going to be in places where many people gather, they are vulnerable to being stolen or damaged by opportunists or unfortunate accidents. Kiosks should include features to resist attempts to tamper with the device. These include features such as compression locks and additional weld points.

Weather in outdoor conditions will test even the most durable kiosks, so select kiosks designs that are well-sealed against water and pollutants. In hot climates, it may be necessary to include cooling systems to keep the kiosk at a normal operating temperature. Ultraviolet light can also attack your screens, so have protection against this in your hardware.

Make the Management Easy

When you are selecting a digital kiosk product, you should consider how you want to manage it. How do you want to push new content or manage settings? Avoid products that require engineering-level skills to be able to code and schedule content changes. Many products have easy remote access features to allow non-technical users to be able to make these changes and allow you to pivot quickly.

It’s important to have an ability to keep track of system health, including both the state of software and hardware that operate it. If the unit is damaged or hacked, you will want to know about it so you can respond quickly and protect your investment by getting back into an operational state as soon as possible.

It’s also critical that multiple users can access the system with varying levels of permission to change settings, manage software updates, or change the content. These permissions should be carefully considered to avoid giving too much access to the wrong person.

Use Analytics to Measure Success

Part of owning and operating a collection of digital kiosks is understanding how well they are doing their job for your business. Any good kiosk solution will include a way to measure your return on investment with features to track the number of interactions, their duration, and what your audience viewed or engaged with.

Analytics serves two important functions. One, it helps you understand how well the device is performing in marketing your business. These data points tell you when it’s time to streamline your user experience or call attention to places in your interface you want people to go. 

It’s also valuable in providing insight to your IT people to see what could be improved in terms of performance or if something is confusing your consumers.