Modern societies live in a distracting environment. Human’s perception is very limited, and our brains are basically forced to select the minor part of the content delivered to us by marketers every day. In consequence, we’re becoming more and more content-proof. For modern marketer, it is a great challenge to attract bored and most often spoiled audience, which seems to be rather irritated even by an excellent content.

Let’s imagine a family’s trip to the local shopping mall, and how web technologies and screens make that visit entertaining and worthwhile.

The family pulls up to the parking garage entrance, and sensors over parking stalls are driving a dynamic screen that’s telling arriving motorists levels 1 and 2 are filled, but level 3 and 4 have open stalls.

Mr Johnson is there with his wife, who’s on a search for a new dress, while the kids are tagging along, and generally fooling around. The mall and its tenants would, of course, like to monetize the family’s visit and to do that, they need to create a customer-friendly environment.

The first step, get the kids engaged and happy to be there. Let’s install a medium-size display in front of the toy store, and let the kids compete on a multi-player arcade game they can control using mom and dad’s smartphones. They’re having a blast and the game is drawing onlookers, and pulling people into the store.

With those two happily occupied, the couple heads over to Mrs Johnson’s favourite store, where she finds a dress, but not one matching her size. The sales associate uses the retailer’s touchscreen to check regional inventory and arranges for delivery and in-store pick-up in two working days. Mrs Johnson sees a new season collection teaser ad on a promotional screen in the store, pulls out her phone and  scans the QR code to grab and save the loyalty discount offer for her next visit.

With that done, the kids are agitating to go, so they head for the parking garage. But Mr Johnson sees a special offer for an all-inclusive resort – videos showing the white sands and dynamic pricing tied to reservations systems. There’s no chance the kids will put up with sitting in the agency, so Mr Johnson scans the QR code in the corner of that screens, and they head out and home.

Agile = empathy


This all may sound pretty fanciful, but these technologies and experiences are becoming increasingly common. That owes to the simplicity of hardware architecture (displays + PCs to manage the content) and limitless HTML5.

The technology is relatively cheap and by using simple things like QR codes, it’s possible to achieve outstanding results with limited effort.

Getting it right owes a lot to thinking, up front, about what to offer and how to put it together.

What’s needed are excellent User Experience and service design skills and a good understanding of user stories – which are usually delivered after hours of workshop sessions. A service provider responsible for the content can’t be just a tech-driven supplier, but also must display great acumen and empathy to understand specific business needs.

The best software development practices, like fast and flexible “agile design”, are the answer for how proper digital signage and DOOH content should be tailored. It works best when the design is more about individuals and interactions than the processes and tools, and when responding to change is more important than just following a plan. The agile design manifesto is important for all marketers involved in the digital signage industry.