Content, Content, Content...
06 April 2021 11:01
Prodding, Poking, Playing...
Airwave's techie team spend many hours painstakingly prodding, poking and playing with various displays. systems and software, ensuring they're not just fit for purpose, but represent the best hospitality technology has to offer. Only then, will a product be signed off, and added to the portfolio.
And it's easy to get caught up in this process - as a product centric technology company, we’re forever looking to push technical boundaries - this drives our business forward and excites us. But sometimes, it’s easy to forget the big picture (no, not Airwave's fabulous industry publication, The Big Picture, the big picture in a metaphorical sense!)
Beauty Is Also Skin Deep
What's this big picture we hear you ask?
Well, we can prod, poke and play as much as we like, but we mustn't forget the huge importance of what we're actually doing this for - content on a display screen.
Time and time again, we see heavy expenditure on hardware, and the meticulous implementation of clever, integrated systems - with poor old content being an afterthought.
Oh, it performs beautifully, but looks terrible?! The best systems should not just perform well, they should look great too.
First Impressions Count..
...especially in the hospitality industry, where stays are often fleeting and competition overwhelming.
It's a given that systems should be intuitive, efficient and robust (we'll make sure of that for you) - but that all-important first impression must be satisfied by professionally designed, branded content.
Of course, we can help with that and offer design services as part of our end-to-end service offering; but for those that keen to go it alone, help yourself to our top ten (display technology) design tips:
Design, Design, Design
1. Use images, choose images, curate images
Strong, relevant images are perhaps the most important element of the design process and should be chosen and curated very carefully. Avoid low definition content like the plague, and if you can help it, steer clear of cheesy stock photography. If the right image can't be found or doesn't exist, think about creating your own (fairly straightforward in the world of high-definition smartphone cameras).
Icons often work as a suitable alternative, offering a clean, minimalist way of representing the intended subject.
2. Keep it simple
Keep things simple, easy to read/understand, and clutter free. The golden rule - does this content achieve a purpose? If not, bin it.
3. The visual hierarchy
Think about the most important messages within your design, and assign their importance in a visual sense - thus creating a visual hierarchy. Sizing and placement are the two most important tools in this concept.
4. Don't underestimate the importance of typography
You know not to submit business reports in comic sans, but the same thinking should apply across the board. Let your font reflect your brand, or the situation. Whilst Times New Roman serves a purpose - do you really think it will excite your guests?
Perhaps even more of a no no than an unsuitable font, is several unsuitable fonts! Font variations should be kept to a minimum (ideally one heading font and one body font), and applied in a consistent manner.
And....if you're looking for a quick and easy method of breathing new life into old content, you'd be surprised how transformational a simple font change can be.
Don't spend hours choosing the prettiest font the world has ever seen, if you're then going to lose it on a cluttered, busy background. Also avoid font colours that don't contrast enough with the background - if the reader has to squint to read it, you've lost your audience...
6. Think about white space
The concept of "white space" in design isn’t simply the absence of content, but a design choice in itself .
Give your designs a chance to breathe. White space (note: white space can be any colour!) improves legibility, creates balance, compartmentalises information and is pretty much the hero of design. Make room for white space, and when you do - don't be tempted to fill it up again.
7. Use a cohesive colour palette...
Hopefully, this will have been taken care of by the marketing team that created your brand - and of course, the colours you choose should reflect this brand.
However, if it's not relevant or possible to incorporate your brand's colours, it's important to choose a colour scheme that works well. Remember, red and green should never be seen...
8. ...and cohesive design elements
Be consistent. Don't spoil your perfectly harmonised colour scheme by mixing and matching different design styles. Trendy retro images alongside cute cartoon characters? Ouch.
9. Think outside the box
Be original. Think "how am I going to grab the customer's attention?" You don't have to be a talented artist to have great ideas.
10. Choose the right technology
Ah, back where we started!
But it's too important a tip to not reiterate. Choose technology that facilitates, not hinders the design process.
Avoid template based content management systems (that are thankfully, becoming less commonplace) that offer little in the way of flexibility beyond a series of text filled boxes with a header image. Ideally, a CMS should incorporate a fully flexible design vehicle (such as HTML5), that essentially offers a blank canvas..
..that beauty is not just skin deep, but looks are important!
If you'd like to find out more about our display technology design services, get in touch for a friendly, informal chat: 0845 555 1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org