Before we get into using an HTML Canvas for digital signage, here are some questions to answer first:
What is an HTML canvas?
How can an HTML canvas be used in digital signage?
Where can you find a digital signage solution that uses an HTML canvas?
These are really good questions. Let’s dive in and answer them as best we can.
Wikipedia defines the Canvas element of HTML as follows: “The canvas element is part of HTML5 and allows for dynamic, scriptable rendering of 2D shapes and bitmap images.”
In short, you can create a canvas where you add 2D shapes (shapes, text) and bitmap images (pictures, gifs, videos), as you like on the canvas. Most importantly, there are no limits to the number or placement of the shapes and images. Depending on the HTML Canvas editor you can: crop images and videos, layer items, apply opacity, duplicate, change colors, add filters, change fonts, size fonts, rotate, etc.
Similarly, these capabilities are what you use when creating a PowerPoint slide, but with some additional benefits. For example, not only can videos be added, rotated, cropped, layered, and resized, but with an HTML canvas editor, they can also be played instantly in real-time while editing.
The HTML canvas editor can be used to quickly and easily create designs for a digital sign. The designs can be full screen or just part of the screen depending on the capabilities of the signage software platform.
Two of the leading HTML canvas editing platforms on the web are Canva and PosterMyWall. These companies’ target market is not digital signage, but their solutions can be extended to digital signs.
Canva is perhaps the leading web-based design platform. Their homepage says, “Design anything. Publish anywhere.” Visit Canva’s templates page. You will see the dozens of category templates and thousands of easy to use templates. Modify or create your own template using their HTML canvas editor: presentations; business cards; email banners; and even Zoom virtual backgrounds.
PosterMyWall started with a service focused on making printed posters easier to create and print. Customers could easily take one of PosterMyWall’s 1,000s of pre-designed poster designs and customize it with PosterMyWall’s HTML canvas editor. After that, have print quality posters of their designs ordered via the internet and physically delivered. PosterMyWall quickly realized that their 140,000 plus, high res designs for posters could be used for digital media as well. The designs are easily resized for Facebook, Instagram, email headers, and many other digital marketing communication channels. In addition to designs for various types of traditional print, e.g. posters, letters, business cards, and more.
Both Canva and PosterMyWall can be used to easily create consistent digital designs. In short, small businesses or corporate communications will have digital media content across all channels. One design, quickly resized for various digital media channels to provide a consistent and unified message across digital media marketing channels. One of the digital media communications channels which will also benefit from this is your digital display network.
There are other apps that use the canvas technology to create a customized image. Pixlr is an example of a mobile phone app that uses HTML canvas technology to allow users to take a picture from their phone and re-size, crop, add text and effects, and save or share.
You can include HTML canvas generated content in most digital signage systems. How? By simply exporting a saved image or video design from the HTML canvas system and then importing the file into the digital signage system.
Both Canva and PosterMyWall allow you to download an image file and PosterMyWall also allows downloading of video files.
Some signage platforms allow you to somewhat automate the exporting-importing process, but they usually end up limiting capabilities versus enhancing them.
The best scenario is when a digital signage platform has an embedded editor. Either their own HTML canvas editor, an embedded editor for Canva or PosterMyWall, or both their own and other platform embedded editors. The advantages of an embedded editor are:
There are a few digital signage solutions that have their own canvas element. It is easy to quickly create and publish content, e.g. crystal-display.com. The problem with them is that their HTML canvas capabilities are the extent of their platform. They cannot support many of the other digital signage capabilities. For instance, live scrolling ticker, weather, live time, and date. In addition, they do not have extensive content control and scheduling capabilities.
If you do not want to limit your signage capabilities, you need a Swiss army knife-like, digital media signage platform solution:
Display5 has all the capabilities listed above. A true, web-based, small business or enterprise-class, platform.
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