Display boards have the potential to play an incredibly important role in schools and academic facilities in general. However, there's an important difference between effective use of school display boards and just randomly throwing a load of uninspiring literature at a wall.
Once you have the attention of your target audience, chances are they'll be eating out of the palm of your hand. So really, it's just a case of building a routine wherein your own notice boards become an integral part of the daily lives of your target audience members.
So, in a school setting, how can you help make this happen?
1 - Location Consideration
Well, perhaps the first and most important thing to think about is exactly where the display boards should be positioned. It may not necessarily be the first or most obvious place that springs to mind as while passing foot traffic is one thing, line of sight and general convenience often matters more. Think about where your audience spends time and choose a location that makes it impossible for your board to be missed.
2 - A Reason to Read
The hardware you choose counts of course, but not nearly on the same level as the board's content. Above and beyond all else, you need to give your audience a reason to read your boards, not just tell them that they have to. Something funny, some privileged information they can't find elsewhere or the chance to win a prize. Make sure they have a reason to read and they will.
3 - Clear and Concise
When dealing with kids, it’s useful to remember that four-second attention spans make it tricky to relay large-scale information all in one go. As such, it's crucial to do all you can to make the content of your boards clear, concise and to the point. If it looks long-winded or complicated, chances are they won’t give it the time of day.
4 - Interactivity
One of the very best ways of all of ensuring you grab the attention of your younger audience is to introduce a little interactivity into the equation. This can be anything from an area of the board free for use by the readers themselves to a simple suggestion box - anything that gets them involved and gives them a reason to keep coming back.
5 - Relevant and Recent
If you want your audience to treat your school display boards with respect, you need to make sure the information that is displayed is both relevant and recent. You need to give them a reason to keep coming back time and time again, so don’t just leave a whole bunch of yesterday's news up for days, weeks or months on end. Make it current and you are more likely to keep their attention and their loyalty.
6 - Effective Layouts
It’s also a good idea to factor the actual layout of the display boards into the equation as this will have a huge impact both on who reads them and how the information is absorbed. As a general rule of thumb, the key in grabbing the viewer’s attention is to write a bold headline then go into more detail, including images, bullet points and quotes where possible. What’s more, it’s worth remembering that the human eye is instinctively trained to read from left to right and from top to bottom, which should be used as a guideline when deciding how to lay out the information on your boards and banners.
7 - Mixed Media
It’s not always possible for reasons of either practicality or costs, but if there’s any way of adding a little mixed media into the equation…well, suffice to say most kids can’t resist the pull of a TV screen or monitor. Mixing up the media can bring a real ‘wow’ factor into the equation and really takes your boards to the next level, so it’s always worth considering doing so if the option is a realistic one.
7 - Surrender Control
Last but not least, one of the most effective approaches of all to getting kids to take not only the display boards but in-school affairs more seriously is to surrender control of your display boards altogether and put them in the hands of the kids. You'd be surprised how creative and enthusiastic they might be when given the chance - let them run free with their own Velcro display board and brace yourself for the results!