What is the Psychology Behind Creating Exceptional Digital Signage Experiences?

The psychology behind making great content for digital signage.


Vision and hearing are the most vital sensory organs that help humans experience and see things in the world. And so, visual communication becomes the main method of grabbing people’s attention.

As businesses realize the cost efficiency of shifting to scalable display systems, digital signage is gaining more traction and has extreme potential for growth. Everything we see around us is powered by technology. From digital billboards to museum information kiosks, scalable digital screens are preferred over traditional hoardings.

But why does digital signage work? How does digital signage affect people’s behavior? What is the psychology behind digital signage’s effectiveness?

The intersection of psychology and effective digital signage involves understanding human cognition, behavior, and emotions to craft impactful visual messaging.

From digital advertising billboards to informational displays, digital signage aims to capture attention, convey a message, and potentially influence behavior. Designers and advertisers can create more impactful and memorable digital displays by understanding psychological principles.

In this article, we will delve into the role of human psychology in digital signage and understand how businesses can leverage these insights for maximum impact.

What catches our attention?

 The impact of personalized digital signage messages on customers.

What are you more likely to pay attention to, a static image or a video?. Most likely you will pay attention to a video because there is a change of scene. It is moving. That is precisely why it catches your attention. Certain characteristics make an element attention-grabbing. Let’s look at some of them:

1. Size: Larger elements in a design tend to be more attention-grabbing than smaller ones.

2. Movement: Our eyes are naturally drawn to movement. In modern contexts, animated graphics, scrolling text, or video can effectively capture attention.

3. Position: Elements placed in specific areas, such as the center or at the top of a layout, often get noticed first, especially in cultures that read from top to bottom and left to right.

4. Novelty: Anything unusual or out of the ordinary can attract attention. Unique shapes, innovative designs, or unexpected visuals can be effective in this regard.

5. Sound (in multimedia contexts): An unexpected or loud sound can quickly grab a viewer’s or listener’s attention in multimedia presentations or environments.

Wondering what a user-friendly digital signage software look like? Here is a guide

Are emotions in digital content important?

It is well known in psychology and design circles that different colors evoke different emotions. For instance, blue might elicit feelings of trust and calm, while red can signify urgency or excitement.

But how important is the use of color in successful visual content? Strategic use of color can set the tone for the message. A consistent color palette signifies predictability. This predictability is comforting for people and sets the stage for familiarity with a brand or company.

As this consistency shows in the brand identity, it becomes synonymous with the brand itself. Emotions form the basis of this connection. Across digital avenues, leveraging colors can work wonders and elicit positive emotions tying back to the company.

Starbucks is a great example. Starbucks predominantly uses green in its branding. Green is often associated with relaxation, tranquility, and health, which aligns well with Starbucks’ image of a cozy place to unwind and their commitment to ethically sourced products.

Does memory have anything to do with digital signage content?

Humans rely on their memory to look for familiarity wherever possible. The best way to retain something is through repetition. Repeated exposure to the same message increases the likelihood of retention.

One of the best examples is Apple product launches, especially for the iPhone. Apple consistently emphasize the product’s design and features across all their digital signage, commercials, and online ads. By repeating these visuals and messages, the brand cements the product’s image in the minds of potential buyers.

Additionally, the mere exposure effect occurs when we see something repeatedly. We tend to buy a particular brand just because of the familiarity of commercials or ads. When seeing digital ads, people are more likely to remember brands, increasing the chance of buying from the brand.

What is the impact of personalized messaging?

People love to feel important and recognized. The cocktail party effect explains this. Imagine you are at a party, and it is noisy. You suddenly hear your name called from the other side and instinctively turn to the voice filtering out the music in the background.

This shows that personalization is the key to getting people’s attention. And that’s why using customized messaging in digital signage is a great way to enhance recall and engagement for the target audience. An example is using digital signage screens for welcoming hotel guests.

While capturing attention is vital, holding it requires a different strategy. And that is what the next section is about.

Less is more

With this world running on attention as currency, there is only so much one can consume daily. So, can businesses ensure that the audience is engaging with their content?

The answer lies in creating straightforward content that only takes up a little of people’s cognitive energy. The importance of clear, brief, and relevant content shines here. Keeping fewer options on digital menu boards and showing the message with clarity and simplicity is the key to success.

Are you looking for digital signage content ideas? These ideas might help!

Why interactive digital signage is a game changer?

 Interactive digital signage increasing customer engagement and retention.

Interactivity in digital signage is truly innovative. When users are offered the chance to interact with content, they transition from passive observers to active participants, leading to deeper cognitive processing and a stronger connection to the material. Such active engagement enhances memory retention.

Furthermore, interactive systems often empower users to tailor their experiences, choosing what content they see or how they navigate through it. This personalization ensures that the content is more relevant to the individual, increasing engagement and the likelihood of remembering the information.

Additionally, many interactive platforms offer immediate feedback, which reinforces learning and enhances user satisfaction and engagement.

One example of brands using interactivity in their campaign is Pepsi Max’s “Unbelievable” Campaign. In a London bus shelter, Pepsi Max used augmented reality to create unexpected scenarios, from an approaching meteor to a loose tiger, making waiting for the bus an unforgettable experience. This campaign grabbed immediate attention and went viral, showcasing the power of interactive signage.

Closing thoughts

Since businesses deal with people, it is crucial to understand their behavioral patterns and the psychology behind their actions. Digital signage, with its dynamic capabilities, offers businesses a versatile platform to connect deeply with audiences.

But to truly maximize its potential, we must combine technological prowess with insights into human cognition, behavior, and emotion. By tapping into the innate tendencies of our audience—from the patterns that catch their eyes to the colors that stir their emotions—we can craft messages that not only resonate but also leave lasting impressions.

As businesses stride into the future, those who marry digital displays’ innovation with the timeless truths of human psychology will undoubtedly lead the pack, fostering genuine connections in an increasingly tech-savvy world.

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Ishika Dhawan

Ishika writes for Pickcel. Her writing intersects where consumer behavior and business meet. When she is not writing for Pickcel, she is thinking about the deeper meaning of life and analyzing a sitcom or two.

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