From a user perspective, a screensaver should accomplish three things for an interactive screen:
- Make its presence known. Users must first, obviously, notice the screen within the physical space.
- Make its interactivity obvious. Users must instantly realise that this is not ambient AV material, but a screen to be touched and that there is more content within it, not yet seen. This is easier said than done and instances of visitors mistaking a well-crafted screensaver for the finalised content (and sitting down to watch the screensaver) have been witnessed.
- Obscuring images with a clear call-to-action is one way of doing this.
- Must look temporary
- Should be a brief (unsatisfying) loop
- Must look touchable! Remember that so much of the museum is off-limits and that touching something in a museum can require extra prompting.
- Make its content enticing. Once users notice the screen and realise it is interactive, they must be drawn into the content itself.
- Accurate: Represent the content accurately. For example, if the content is predominantly an interview-type with an artist, including an image of them talking to the camera/interview will clearly represent what the content is.
- Type: Is this a video? Is this an article? Surprising users with the type of content, like a wall of text, will inevitably turn users off. Make it obvious before they even touch (see more about Video)
- Duration: Being forthcoming with a duration can help visitors accurately gauge whether or not this content is something they are interested in.
If the screen houses more than a single piece of content, consider using the menu screen as a quasi-screensaver instead. Doing this showcases the content on offer and reduces the number of interactions required. There can be ways to mitigate damage to the screen, for example, less contrast on static elements, temporarily fading out the screen to black, etc. Talk to your trusty AV Tech during development :)