Digital Menu Board Animations
Gregg Zinn Avatar

Animation on Digital Menu Boards – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Using animations on Digital Menu Boards can be an incredible way to engage customers and influence purchase patterns. But how much of a good thing is too much? Misuse of animation and video can actually create a terrible customer experience and ultimately lead to bad results. This article provides a good framework for how to use animation and video in a way the gets you the results you are looking for.

What is animation anyway?

Animation basically refers to anything that is moving on your screen.  Sometimes this can be a video or in some cases it is just some motion graphics like a burger flying onto the screen. Over the past 16 years in the Digital Menu Board market I have seen some incredible examples of this technology done really well. Unfortunately I have also see some really terrible uses that make me cringe or throw up in my mouth. So what is the right approach? How do you avoid making me (and your customers) sick?

Rules of the road

The following rules (let’s call them suggestions) should provide you with a good starting point for getting the most out of animations on your digital menu board.

Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it

There are many different types of animation that can be done but be careful to not go overboard. I remember years ago there was a commercial where they put a logo on fire and everybody oohed an aahed. This is a good example of something that can be done but probably shouldn’t. You can make your specialty burger fly all over the screen like a superhero, but how does that help sell more burgers?  When choosing a style of animation you should always think ‘How does this make the item more appealing?’  If you can’t come up with an obvious answer, the answer is don’t do it.

Sometimes less is more

One of my favorite uses of animation on digital menu boards is what I would call ambient animation. Examples of this could be steam coming off a hot item or bubbles in a carbonated drink. These kind of animations bring the items to life but aren’t distraction or overwhelming. These examples help to show the quality of the item by using subtle queues instead of over-the-top motion.

Sometimes fewer is better

Animations can be a great way to catch a consumers attention and direct them toward a product you want to highlight. What happens if you have 3 or 4 or even more of these animations going at the same time? The customer is going to be distracted by this many moving elements and won’t know what to focus on. Too many animations going on at one time is one of the biggest mistakes people make when using this type of technology. 

Quality not quantity

Pulling all of these ‘rules’ together culminates in creating high quality animation. Motion graphics and animation are an art form. When these graphics are jerky, move too fast and are not well timed, you will get a negative response from customers. Customers may not even realize that they are turned off, but trust me they will be. You also want to focus the quality of the imagery. High-quality images and animations make a statement about your brand and your products. Think of the old adage ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’ and apply that to your animations.

Digital Menu Board animation done right is awesome

Don’t be afraid to experiment with animation on your digital menu boards. Try things out and test to see if you are getting the response you want.  Animation when it is done well can make the difference between good digital menu boards and amazing digital menu boards. Who wants to be ordinary? I know you don’t want to be!

What if You Don’t Currently Have Digital Menu Boards?

Digital menu boards are easier than ever to deploy and right now is the time to invest in them. With the current economic challenges, many businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. Digital menu boards can help you do both.

Digital menu boards are also more cost effective than ever before.  The cost of displays has dropped dramatically and an average business can get digital menu boards up in a matter of days.

SmarterSign has been helping restaurants of all sizes make the move to digital menu boards for nearly 16 years. Our experts can help guide you through the process quickly and easily.

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