Insight & Article

How do I customise signs to display different content at different sites?

How do I customise signs to display different content at different sites?

Background


Suppose you have one restaurant in Cardiff and another in London.  You would like to show the same special offer sign at both restaurants, but because of geographical price differences, the price for a Super Saver Meal is £3.00 in Cardiff but £3.50 in London.

One solution is to have two separate signs with different prices, and deploy one to Cardiff and the other to London.  However, maintaining two almost-identical signs is not very convenient.  Nor is it very scalable if you have hundreds or even thousands of restaurants, and several sets of prices!

A more elegant solution is to use ‘data objects’.  A data object allows you to define multiple ‘tiers’ of pricing (or other data).   You can then define a single sign with placeholders for the prices.  When you deploy the sign to a zone, you also deploy a ‘tier’ of data appropriate for that zone.  Screens in that zone will then substitute the placeholders for the actual price data in that tier.

Defining a Data Object


Consider the following pricing structure for meals:

Standard Restaurants (including Cardiff):

PRODUCT CODEPRODUCT NAMEPRICE
376 Super Saver Meal £3.00
432 Meal Deal £3.45
441 Kids Meal £2.60
499 Deluxe Meal £4.50

London Restaurants:

PRODUCT CODEPRODUCT NAMEPRICE
376 Super Saver Meal £3.50
432 Meal Deal £3.95
441 Kids Meal £2.90
499 Deluxe Meal £5.10


In SignStix terminology, this would be one ‘data object’ (Meal Prices) with three ‘columns’ (Product Code, Product Name and Price) and two ‘tiers’ (Standard and London), and four ‘items’ (Meal Deal and so on).

  1. Log into SignStix Director
  2. Click ‘Data Objects’ in the menu at the top left.
  3. Click the ‘Add’ button (which looks like a target with a green plus symbol).
  4. In the resulting window, enter a name for your data object e.g. ‘Meal Prices’.
  5. Leave the ‘Data Type’ as ‘Text Input (Blank)’.
  6. Set the ‘Base Tier Name’ to ‘Standard Restaurants’.
  7. Click the ‘Add Data Object’ button.


This launches another window in which you can define the columns for the data. When it refers to the ‘primary key’, this means the reference column which is going to be the same across all the tiers. In this case it will be the Product Code.

  1. Enter ‘Product Code’ as the column name and click ‘Add Column’. The first column automatically becomes the primary key.
  2. Enter ‘Product Name’ as the next column name and click ‘Add Column’.
  3. Enter ‘Price’ as the last column name and click ‘Add Column’.
  4. Click the ‘Submit Columns’ button.


The data object has now been created, but at this point it only has one tier (Standard Restaurants) and there are no items (no meals). The next stage is to add the items for the Standard Restaurant tier.

  1. Click ‘Add Item’ then enter 376 (the unique product code for Super Saver Meal). This creates a new item row with a Product Code of 376.
  2. To populate the product name, click in that row under the Product Name column. In the resulting text box, enter ‘Super Saver Meal’, then click the green tick symbol, or press the Enter key.
  3. To populate the price, click in that row under the Price column, and enter ’3.50′ (there’s no need to include a ‘£’ symbol – that can be added in the sign itself).
  4. Repeat the above for the other three products.


Now you have defined a complete pricing tier for the Standard Restaurants. To define a tier for the London Restaurants, the easiest method is as follows:

  1. Click ‘Duplicate tier’ and enter ‘London Restaurants’ as the name.
  2. This creates a new tier with the same data as the Standard Restaurants.
  3. You can now edit the price data (by clicking on it) to set the higher London prices.


With the data object fully defined, it can now be referenced in a sign as described below.

Using a Data Object in a Sign


To create a price list sign for meals open your sign in Creator.

  1. Click the ‘Data Object Tool’ button in the Tools panel at the top left.
  2. Choose the ‘Meal Prices’ data object you prepared earlier. This adds a new layer to the Layers panel.


This new layer has no direct presence on the signage canvas itself, but you can set options on it via the Tool Options panel at the bottom right. Specifically, you can decide which tier you want to use for previewing. For example, when constructing the sign, you can choose whether you want to see Standard Restaurant or London Restaurant pricing.

For now, leave this set to ‘Standard Restaurants’.

  1. Use the ‘Text Tool’ to add a Text layer.
  2. In the ‘Tool Options’ panel, click the ‘Content’ tab and set the ‘Content Type’ to be ‘Data Object’.
  3. Set the ‘Data Object Layer’ to be the ‘Meal Prices’ data object you prepared earlier.
  4. Set ‘Show Column’ to be ‘Product Name’.
  5. Set ‘Primary key value’ to be 376, which corresponds to ‘Super Saver Meal’.
  6. The text layer will now show ‘Super Saver Meal’.
  7. Add another Text layer as above, but this time position it just to the right of the first layer, and set the ‘Show Column’ to be ‘Price’. Also set the ‘Prefix’ to be ‘£’.


You should now see ‘Super Saver Meal £3.00′ on your sign.

You can add further products be repeating the process above but choosing different values for the primary key (e.g. 432) so that you see the data for a different product.

Save and publish your sign as normal.

Deploying a Data Object to Zones


The final step is to deploy your sign and data tiers to your zones.

  1. Assign the sign to your zone using a campaign as described in Deploying a Sign.
  2. Under the ‘Deployment’ menu on the left, select ‘Data Control’.
  3. In the menu at the top, select your ‘Meal Prices’ data object created earlier.
  4. Select a zone (e.g. the Cardiff zone in the example above).
  5. Choose the appropriate data tier from the list of ‘Data Options’ on the left. For example, in the case of a Cardiff zone, you would choose ‘Standard Restaurants’. For London-based zones, you would choose ‘London Restaurants’.
  6. Press the ‘Deploy Content’ button to deploy both the sign and the data to the zones.

Get to grips with SignStix Data Objects with our new Video Tutorial.