Parallel Worlds: WTF (Why Tickers Fail)

Manolo Almagro, Weekly Columnist

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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