What should you prioritise when you’re looking for a digital signage solution? We believe it should be ease of use, for the simple reason that difficult to use software doesn’t get used. The success of your digital signage project will depend on your team committing to using a new tool, and software that’s intuitive and user friendly is essential to making this happen. If your software doesn’t make sense or requires lots of training, you are likely to have a solution that’s under-used and not giving you a good ROI. Here we explore the what and why of ‘user friendly’.
User experience is about the user, not just you
An OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) study on IT skills in 2016, analysed by the Neilsen Norman Group might make surprising reading for software developers. Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population had high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people could complete medium-complexity tasks. These are tasks like using a new online form or doing something that requires you to navigate across different pages and applications to solve a problem.
Neilsen’s message was directed at user interface (UI) designers: keep products extremely simple, or two thirds of the population can’t, and therefore won’t, use your designs. However, it’s a learning for technology buyers within organisations too. You are likely to be one of the techiest people in your business, so you can’t buy for yourself, you need to consider every user. It’s very difficult, probably impossible, to use a product imagining you are someone else, so you need to get users involved in your evaluation process. Get the people who will use the product to test it before you buy. You may have a company of tech geniuses, but don’t assume that you do, or should.
What is user-friendly?
It seems like a simple enough question - we all know the difference between something we enjoy using and something that is annoying - but can you define what it is about software products that make them easy to use or not? TechRepublic provides a good 10-point definition of user friendliness which includes a product being easy to install and update and having a pleasant, easy-to-navigate GUI (Graphical User Interface). Jack Wallen says “Software is only as good as its GUI. If the GUI is not well thought out and well executed, people will have issues with using the product.”
Different types of user
The best types of software can be tailored for different users, so a basic user isn’t overwhelmed with features they don’t need, and so that they can’t accidentally do tasks that they shouldn’t be doing. Specifically, for digital signage content management software, this could look like the solution supporting multiple users and contributors who can add content, with different access levels for different members of a team, and approvers who have the final say. Having this type of admin/approver control isn’t just about making it easy for users, it’s also essential to making sure your content feed is nicely curated and on message.
No training required?
While the best software is so easy to use you can pick it up as you go, everyone will need to access tutorials at some point, whether that’s videos or Q&As, and may have a question that isn’t already answered. What support does the software company provide and what’s their response time like? Support is an important part of the user experience; will your team be able to have questions answered within your working hours in your time zone? Will they be able to talk to a person as well as a bot?
User experience is at the heart of good software. Good software is simple, and supports people in doing their jobs, in an ideal scenario, even making those jobs more enjoyable. Complex software wastes your team’s time and they will start to avoid using it, seriously impacting your return on investment. Make everyone happy and choose a solution that’s not just easy to use but makes signage easy too.
At Cenareo, we have developed the easiest to use digital signage solution available on the market. It is genuine 'Plug & Play' and only takes a few minutes to get up and running. If you do run into problems, you can take comfort in the knowledge that Cenareo will support you every step of the way; from installation, connection to our platform right through to delivering your first campaign, we're here to help.