A little tech talk
There are certain terms associated with digital signage screens that can sound a little complicated, but they are not really. These are:
• Aspect ratio
You cannot overlook these elements of the screens that you will be using in the slightest. You can think of them as the foundation of the house that is your final content. So what exactly are they?
Aspect ratio is the width of the image area divided by its height. You have probably seen 16:9 on the specs of your high definition screens, right? Well, that’s what it means. On the other hand, the screen resolution refers to the number of rows and columns of pixel that it will use to create the image. It indicates as width by height e.g. 1280×768 represents a large-screen display.
So what’s the big deal?
As mentioned earlier, the aspect ratio and screen resolution are the foundation on which your content stands. So what would happen if the content did not come with these aspects in mind?
One thing that could happen is that the digital signage software will stretch or smash the still images in your content to fit in the window. That is definitely not a good look for you. You could also get black bars around videos as your software tries to fill up the blank spaces left on the window while keeping the video images in their original size.
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What you are trying to achieve with your digital signage is communication of both your product and your brand. This poor appearance of your signage can be harmful to your brand so it is not a matter play around with.
How do I do it?
Well, the important thing is to make sure that throughout the entire content design process, you take into account the aspect ratio and screen resolution. Your digital signage software comes with several places where you can make these adjustments to suit your display. Just remember the settings, right down to the smallest digit, so that all the slides have exactly the same dimensions.
Some of the digital signage hardware like the media players may also require you to define the aspect ratios and resolutions of each slide in your display.
Most displays come with their own default resolutions and aspect ratios. As much as you can, keep your content within these default settings for optimal function. Different displays have different resolutions, even though they may appear similar, so you may need to experiment with your content to see how it looks on each screen before setting everything up.