Incorporating Audio?

The use of audio in conjunction with digital signage is a controversial topic, with many preferring to avoid it altogether.  However, we believe that there are some situations when audio can be an excellent enhancement to the visual content displayed. With that in mind, let’s run down the best—and worst!—situations for incorporating audio.

AudioThe worst:

1. Retail: In a retail situation, localized audio can be annoying at best. Many retail locations, particularly grocery stores, announce deals and seasonal sales over the loudspeaker. This works because everyone gets to hear it at the same time.  Audio tied to a specific digital display, on the other hand, means that customers will almost always arrive in the middle of a sentence, leaving them more confused than informed.  Add that to the other sounds in a retail store, and you’re left with a mess of noise.

2. Drive-thru: Digital signage for drive-through displays can be great, but this might be the worst of the worst as far as things to enhance (or “enhance”) with audio. The soundscape at a drive-through might include music from the car radio, conversation between people in the car to decide on an order, and most importantly, placing the order. There’s no falling back on lip-reading here, so it’s important that associates are able to hear as clearly as possible!  Trying to include audio with a drive-through display would be nothing short of disaster.

The best:

1. Entertainment: Anywhere you’re using digital signage as entertainment is a prime place for adding audio. This is especially true in places like amusement parks, where people are going to be waiting for a long time and there’s not much essential conversation going on.

2. Informational kiosks:  This is a great place for audio because it can help accommodate the visually impaired, it adds to the functionality of the digital kiosk, and it’s part of an information that people are seeking out intentionally. The difference between useful and unwelcome audio is important!

Depending on the location, audio can make a display unbelievably annoying, or extra-helpful! All you need is to understand the customer experience.

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