Putting people at the heart of communication is the main idea of Human-centered Design (HCD). We’ve already covered the Inspiration and Ideation stages. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how Prototyping & Implementation – the final stages of the process – can be adapted to craft meaningful digital signage strategies.
First, you’ll want to come up with a rapid prototype of what you want to accomplish. You are mainly looking for interaction – with your digital signage messages, with your calls-to-action, with your screens – so consider roleplaying the ideal interactions your audience would have after seeing your communications. This means actually going through the motions – you need to see something tangible that you can really work with.
After trying this out on yourself and your team, get some of the people you interviewed earlier to walk past a single display with your message on it, and see what their responses are. If you’re trying to design a logo or mascot character, put it on a hat or t-shirt or poster, and see what people’s reactions are. If you want people to follow a call-to-action, see if they take the correct steps. Then interview them and ask them for their impressions. Getting feedback is crucial if you’re going to have long-term success with your audience.
The next thing to do is integrate that feedback, and then iterate another prototype. Use brainstorming sessions, frameworks, and other techniques from earlier stages to fine-tune your message. Then test out the new improved version on a select audience.
You are now ready for Live Prototyping. This means putting your messages out on multiple screens and observing if people stop and look, if they follow the call-to-action, etc. Spot check the audience with brief questions about what did or did not further your goals (keep it to three questions max). Then iterate some more.
You’ll also want feedback from various stakeholders. Getting them on board at this stage in the process might trigger a cascade of great new ideas, or simply confirm that you’re on the right track. But the more people who feel like they are part of the process (the more humans you incorporate into your Human-centered Design), the more effective it will be. You should also have someone to champion your new initiatives, adding excitement and buzz to the deployment.
Also, make sure the people who will actually be running your system have some say. These are the people on the front lines, creating and scheduling your content on a daily basis. Give them a stake in the planning and testing stages to ensure they understand the goal, what works and what doesn’t.
Your messages or campaigns are now ready to be launched. But the work isn’t over. You should always be improving your communications by finding out how things are being received and what people respond to, even after you think you’ve finished. This will build on past successes and create better frameworks for future messaging. Measure and evaluate, and adjust as needed.
By always keeping a human focus when designing your digital signage campaigns, you’ll be more effective, and more appreciated by your audience. Digital signs may be electronic, but behind it all are people communicating with people – and that’s essential to the success of your signage.