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The Unspoken Truths of Touch Screen Content

Posted by Jessica Webster on Tue, Sep, 17, 2013 @ 14:09 PM

First, let’s start with some stats I painstakingly researched on the internet for 5 minutes:

  • The average human attention span is 8 seconds
  • Most people who click on this article won’t finish reading it
  • 22% of American adults have ADD/ADHD
  • 1 out of 4 of them is faking it, but that doesn’t mean they do not have attention span proble— Oh! Something shiny!
  • distracted by shinny object

So what does this all mean for touch screen content? If you’ve made it this far in the article, it means that every touch point has to add real value to your user, like NOW. We have 8 seconds to stop a busy human in the mall, at a hardware store or at a sporting event – and still we see way too many mediocre touch interfaces with an “about us” section.

Today’s consumer is the center of their own universe, and most interactive digital signage is doing too much “talking” and not enough listening and learning. Sometimes we forget that the purpose of what we’re doing is to 1) solve for the user’s problems because problems exist 2) create opportunities because opportunities exist 3) create a delightful “wow” moment because monotony exists. What doesn’t exist are groups of people wandering around the world looking for “about us” information about a company they know very little about.

Let’s get real for a second and find the root of this problem. Why is there an “about us” icon in so many interactive interfaces? Is it because the *CEO said so? The unspoken truth is that the many touch screen monitor interfaces have been designed for the person approving the project.

By and large, most executives, project leaders and other invested humans want to be good clients and believe they’re doing the right thing for their business. We can roll our eyes when they make requests like making the font Arial, or ask to change the background to royal blue because it’s their company color, but the right thing to do would be to clarify what they really need if they would like to see success in this investment.

So, what’s the harm in one little “about us” icon to please your boss or client? Understandably, you may be unwilling to defy their request, so this is a matter of picking your battles. Sometimes one or two little somethings from a higher up that makes absolutely no sense to you will have no effect on the success of your interactive solution. But sometimes they can be devastating. At that point, you need to be willing to go to the mat. That is because if these requests result in a poor interactive experience, it will create negative ROI for your company or client.

Not just zero ROI, but negative ROI. How is that? If you’ve added all of the features your boss/client wants and the resulting interactive experience was proving no results – that actually might be ok. But that’s not what’s happening. The problem is that less than awesome interactive experiences often generate negative ROI. You’ve bored people, you’ve annoyed them, and they’ve decided to never buy from you again. You’re damaging your brand, business and digging yourself into a hole that you’re going to have to crawl out of eventually.

At the end of the day, your boss/client will accept your expertise as long as you can show results – that is why they hired you for this project in the first place. Both of you can bend a little here and there; just make sure no one breaks.

 *Disclaimer to the CEOs- thank you for being the scapegoat for this article session. You rock.

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 Author Bio| Horizon Display

describe the imageJessica Webster, Marketing Specialist for Horizon Display. Jessica likes to destroy create things. She specializes in creative design, copywriting, brand awareness, interface creation and making it all look easy (when we all know it sure isn’t). When she’s not designing the heck out of everything, you will probably find her staring at her Pantone swatch book drinking an unnecessary amount of coffee.

Topics: Interactive Experiences, Commentary, Touch Screen Software