Digital devices display increasing amounts of multimedia. The most important of these are interactive applications. They attract the attention of users much more effectively than passive content does. What should you know about such applications before you apply them in your exhibition set up? Let us explain.
What are interactive applications?
If we only consider the existence of interactions as the main criterion, mobile applications, web applications and many other categories of applications would end up in the same box. But is this really the case? To correctly classify interactive applications, it is necessary to include the type of medium, that is, the device on which applications will be displayed. In the exhibition sector, this category of applications includes those with interactive content displayed on info kiosk screens and those displayed as projections.
Can mobile applications and web applications be interactive? Certainly, but the question is: should they? The answer depends on the technologies that are used. Let’s have a closer look at them.
Technologies used in interactive applications
We already know that interactive applications are a special kind of software displayed in a particular way. Thus, the technology used in the development of interactive applications should also be appropriately selected. The best of the available choices for this purpose are 3D engines, which originally served exclusively to create games. Currently, two engines are dominant in the industry: Unity and Unreal Engine.
Unfortunately, technologies used in mobile or web applications are also used to create interactive applications. That is often not the best solution at all. The use of web applications for these purposes is especially risky. Their display uses a web browser, which significantly reduces their performance and introduces limitations in the use of external controllers.
Web browsers are subject to updates, therefore, the technologies supported today may stop being supported tomorrow. This may result in an improper display of applications content. The now defunct Flash technology has become one of such recent controversies. Currently, most applications implemented with this technology are not displayed correctly.
Mobile applications do not require a web browser, which positively affects their performance. A disadvantage is that they work under the control of an operating system that does not allow as large customization as Windows or Linux. Managing a multimedia system, where all stations are running mobile technologies, can create operational difficulties, too, and increase the cost of maintaining the installation. Mobile applications, as much as web applications, find it difficult to support external devices, which are now becoming increasingly popular.
Content for interactive applications
When implementing a new project, it is worth remembering that multimedia technologies are a very attractive form of content presentation. Still, it is the content that is always the most important. It is often seen that installations use multimedia stations only for their own sake and do not exploit the full potential of the technology.
An integral part of the interactive application system should be a CMS, that is, Content Management System. As the name suggests, it is used to manage the content displayed by applications. A thing to remember about the use of CMS is that if such a system is not planned at the design stage, the later cost of implementation can be very high. A built-in CMS for interactive applications is available with Toucan Nest.
User experience and design
A significant cost in projects using interactive applications is user experience and application design. We explained how to improve the quality of graphics and at the same time save money in our article about Design System.
Interactive applications – summary
Interactive applications have been described here with a focus on implementation. We paid special attention to this aspect as it is often the most challenging. Even the most expensive hardware will not make poorly designed interactive applications work better, so it is important to choose the right technology at the implementation stage.