October 12, 2018
Digital Signage Tips and Tricks

Close Encounters with Proximity in Digital Content Design

Don't Cramp Your Digital Signage Style

This design blog takes a look at a design principle made up of three smaller principles rolled into one - Proximity.

Proximity is defined as "nearness in space, relationship, or time." When we think of proximity, we often think of how close one object is physically (or in this case, digitally) to another object. However, when it comes to designing digital signage campaigns, proximity has many more meanings. Let's explore each of these ideas and see how it can relate to creating great digital signage.

Proximity of Space

This is the easiest type of proximity to master since it's the easiest concept. Imagine that you're sitting around a meeting table with 7 other people, making 8 total. There are only 8 seats, so everyone is spaced out around the table. Now, imagine 4 more people join the table. Now the table is too crowded. Some people may have more room around them while others might be right up against someone.

This leaves you with three options: have four people leave so that everyone has enough space, split the group of 12 into several smaller tables, or find a way to have all 12 fit, evenly. This is a literal interpretation of proximity of space; being aware when there is too much jammed into a certain space, figuring out how to make things fit, and knowing when to split things into smaller groups.

Bad and Good

This slide has a lot going on and things seem to be all over the place. This makes it seem rushed and disorganized, so the information is not easily understood at a glance. There are two ways that we can fix this issue. First, we can place an even amount of space between each photo to create a pattern, or we can divide the photos into two similar slides.

Proximity of Relationship

This type of proximity can apply to both your slides and channels. Imagine you're browsing the menu at a restaurant. Similar things tend to be grouped together (sandwiches, salads, drinks, etc.) That way when you find the variety you’d like, you can see similar options at the same time. It helps to think of your digital signage in the same manner.

Similar content should not only be grouped together on your slides, but also in your channels. When you systematize similar content, viewers get a faster understanding of the information.

Proximity of Time

This is the trickiest proximity concept to grasp when it comes to digital signage. Think about your screen placement. Are your signs displayed in lobbies, hallways, or break rooms? These locations may not have a long time to wait for viewers. Instead, audiences tend to look for quick bursts of aesthetic, meaningful content. We need to keep this in mind when we design our content and channels.

When creating slides, consider how long it will take the viewer to read the information you will display. If you are incorporating videos, think of how long someone will actually watch them. I like to keep my slides under 30 seconds and my videos under 3 minutes.

Focus on the content you are running - are your slides cluttered, or do the elements have room to breathe? Are similar things grouped together? Can you digest all the information from a slide before it moves on to the next one? Depending on your answers, you may want to design with proximity in mind!

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