Parallel Worlds: WTF (Why Tickers Fail)

Manolo Almagro, Q Division Managing Partner

Data feeds that are visualized in ‘ticker’ format are actually the vestigial organs of today’s digital signage messaging hierarchies. Like the human appendix; at one point the ticker had a function, but over time the ticker’s overall usefulness has become redundant to more sophisticated and efficient ways of displaying information.

In the Jurassic age of place based media content – the early LED displays elements didn’t have a large enough brain to support much more than monochrome ASCII characters. In the next evolutionary jump, the Cro-magnon LEDs developed the ability to ‘crawl’ long strings of text across an LED matrix.

These then gave way to a new species of LED system which adapted to the environment by walking upright to support full-motion, full color HD video playback.

A ticker has no place in today’s messaging, it is undoubtedly the most in-efficient way to present messaging, based on scientific research that the average human can comprehend at least 250 words a minute (a lot faster than a ticker scroll).

Case in point – I’ve conducted many experiments on roadside digital billboards using an RSVP method of displaying information. In this case its possible to present up to 20 words a second for viewers – with a stunning 88% comprehension rate.

Trust me, in a world where people have high expectations for their personal digital experiences, using a live ticker feed is like putting a speed bump in the middle of the Indianapolis speedway.

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