In launching Ticker Free Day, some people questioned my thinking toward eliminating all tickers across the digital signage industry. A handful of individuals cited examples of tickers working well within digital signage networks.
My impetus to create Ticker Free Day was not born from a hatred of every single ticker that exists in the world, but rather from a desire to free people from the stranglehold of unnecessary tickers. Too many digital signage networks use scrolling tickers as a crutch; a space filler amongst a sea of useless trivia questions and mindless factoids. RSS tickers and data-driven tickers are thrown around like streamers on New Year’s Eve. They are strewn about with thoughtless abandon. They come to rest amongst a sea of disparate content. With each pass beyond the edge of a display, they illustrate the network operator’s failure to construct an over-arching content strategy.
Ticker Free Day is meant to challenge digital signage network owners and operators to take an honest look at the content running on their displays. It is a call to eliminate “filler” from one’s network. It is an opportunity for network operators to pull the rose-colored glasses from their faces, and judge their networks as though they were viewing them for the first time.
I contend that many network owners don’t even remember why they chose to include a ticker on their displays in the first place. Tickers are often looked at as an easy fix. Tickers flow from one side to the other as if carried by a train with no final destination.
Ticker Free Day is not an open attack against all scrolling text and news feeds that wander across digital screens from here to Singapore. It is more of a wake up call. My issue is with the fact that some in our industry would have you believe that every network under the sun should have tickers. To eliminate tickers from all digital signage screens for a single day, is an exercise in discarding what is often the first option in a developing a digital signage layout.
I don’t hate tickers. I just hate when they are used without forethought. I wish I could free screens from the ticker snakes that choke the life from their digital faces. Tickers slither endlessly from one edge to the other, leaving a streak of dead pixels in their wake.
Tickers are like weather modules in that they often represent the easy choice instead of the right one. Ticker Free Day is a challenge to the digital signage industry to sacrifice the easy answer for the sake of discovering the best solution. To pick and choose the right times to use tickers is better than just throwing them on displays haphazardly. Tickers should be thought of like knives in a kitchen. They always need to be handled with care.