Content is King. Creating Interactive Content

There is a growing emphasis on touch interactivity in the digital signage market as more and more brands and companies are seeing the benefit of customer engagement, now that our smart phones and tablets have taught us to think of displays as input devices. But a frequently asked question that we receive is from brands or their agencies wondering how best to create quality interactive content.

There are multiple ways to approach this challenge. In this post, we will talk about the tools, both software and hardware, used to create and deploy interactive content. Most interactive content over the years has been built using similar tools and platforms to other application software or websites. Adobe Flash, DreamWeaver, and other similar tools can create interactive content that can be deployed offline on a kiosk or on other platforms. There are limitations to Flash on mobile devices, so most developers have moved away from that, choosing instead to develop content in the latest web mark-up language, HTML5, which supports a wide range of interactive development. The content developed on these web platforms can be deployed locally on a player or PC or published online for worldwide access. This deployment flexibility helps ensure development costs for kiosks and touchscreens are leveraged to online and mobile campaigns. There are more sophisticated content management systems (CMS) style software on which larger sites and more sophisticated platforms are developed. These can include programs like WordPress, Drupal and Umbraco. These are the professional tools that marketing agencies use, but this is not the only option for users interested in getting started.

There are interactivity features built into Microsoft that would allow users to trigger content, navigate through different screens and find the information they are looking for. If all you want to do is swipe through photographs or slides, even some JPG photo players will allow that. Of course, a touch is simply a mouse click and any software is automatically set up to work with mouse clicks. For the simplest applications, use the built-in functionality of these applications and it may suit your purposes.

Another tool growing in popularity for interactive content development is the authoring platform that comes with some digital signage software or players. Today, I’ll talk in more detail about the BrightAuthor software that comes free with a BrightSign media player. These affordable players and support a wide range of displays, including the Planar® UltraRes or Planar® EP Series in 4k resolution. The graphic user interface (GUI) makes it easy to trigger activities based on touches or swipes, which might guide users through layers of information or to rich media elements like video sources, live feeds, or offers, coupons, or pricing. The software can be used on a PC, updated from a tablet or smart phone, it can play HTML5 content, and the application you design can be published locally or across a network of Planar displays. Click here to see a presentation of how to create an interactive presentation in BrightAuthor.