Digital signage templates allow you to instantly create stunning images, presentations, and more. In this article, you will learn the technical background of templates, how to create them and how to use them correctly. At the same time, we will dispel the myth that digital signage is just a tool for creating content.
What are Digital Signage Templates?
We mean templates with placeholders for texts, images, or videos, when we talk about digital signage templates. Ideally, design service providers would prepare the templates for their customers. The users insert their individual content into the placeholders.
At SmilControl, we use two types of templates. Image templates and HTML templates. The image templates are created using the SVG language. Users fill in the placeholders with their content in a special editor and save an image or web page accordingly.
Images with SVG Templates
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) refers to a standardized XML-based language for vector graphics. Placeholders are placed where users should enter their content. For text content, it looks like this:
The “fill editor” now knows that there is text placed at the coordinates 58px from the left and 960px from the top, and it offers the user the opportunity to click on the text to modify it. The editor will display the following:
We selected SVG because it is a widely supported standard and the files are human-readable text. Many applications support the creation of SVG files. Since these are text files, they are compatible with various platforms and can be transferred without issues. Service providers and design agencies typically prefer to work with their own tools.
It saves us the hassle of developing another proprietary template editor and costly training of a designer or service provider to use it. There are many great video and image editing software available for this task. Therefore, I would rather not reinvent the wheel, and probably do it in a poorer way.
SmilControl understands digital signage software as a vehicle for establishing ways for users to create their content, using the tools they prefer, organize it as efficiently as possible, and then deliver it to their screens.
To get an idea of the power of SVG, take a look at the tutorial on creating channels with SVG.
Furthermore, we have also deliberately chosen a simplistic UI for the fill-in editor, since users should not be expected to lay out the template themselves, but should simply complete it. But I will address that further.
Web Pages and Widgets with HTML Templates
You can create stunning images with SVG. But what about animations or interactive applications? For this purpose, we provided the customer with HTML templates.
Users can decide to save the template as a regular web page, or instruct the CMS to generate a so-called digital signage widget. Widgets are web applications that run locally on a user's device, while web pages run on a web server. In the case, our CMS. This gives you an incredibly powerful functionality at your fingertips.
Concrete example: Individual User Interface
You have created a user interface with multiple touch buttons as an HTML template for your customers. The templates users enter their individual background images for each button and their reactions to the click or touch. The other actions could be the opening of another application, a link to a store or ticket sale, the start of a print job, and much more. The same template can meet different requirements due to its generic nature.
What are the Advantages of Digital Signage Templates?
Digital signage templates allow users to create attractive, individualized content, such as offers or even applications, without extensive training and design knowledge. Since the structure and design are strictly predefined, there are seldom any opportunities for errors or broken layouts.
The main priorities are speed and simplicity. Keep in mind the mantra of digital signage: Sell umbrellas when it rains.
Responsible employees in a boutique should be able to create a visually appealing offer without having to previously learn how to use InDesign, GIMP, or CorelDraw.
The user interface of the template filler editor is as simple as possible because I want the user to focus on the content, not the interface. Unnecessary functionality makes this process more complicated and increases the likelihood of errors. Please remember:
Digital signage is infrastructure and not content creation!
Our objective is to enable the end user to publish and organize their content as easily as possible.
Digital Signage templates provide perfect and instant user-generated content in the respective corporate design. They offer resellers the opportunity to supply their customers individual service and added value by offering their professional creation as a service.