Before a layout can be created it is important to determine the number of zones that will be required to create the layout.
NOTE: Multiple zone layouts require higher end player hardware since they use more RAM and CPU resources. Speak with your ComQi account manager about the player hardware capabilities.
NOTE: It is HIGHLY recommended to never have multiple zones playing back video at the same time. Playback of multiple videos is very CPU intensive and not practical for digital signage.
Use the following questions to determine the number of required zones:
1. How many regions on the screen will display rotating content?
Will there be a "main" zone displaying video. Will there be a "side" zone, showing advertisements, information, pricing or messages? Will there be a scrolling ticker? Each of these main, side, banner will need a separate zone. Multiple types of content can be displayed in one zone, but a separate zone is required for each area of the screen in which the content will be displayed.
2. How many full-time (always on the screen) content elements are required?
For example, a clock or date that shows on screen all the time, would be a full-time content element and a separate zone would be required for that element.
3. Will the full-time elements have different fonts, fonts sizes, or screen location?
For example, if a clock and date is required but both have different fonts or font size then separate zones are required, one of the clock and one for the date. If the clock and date are at different locations on the screen, separate zones are required for each.
4. Will any of the zones require rounded or non-rectangular borders?
For example, if a zone showing rectangular content, such as videos will be display with rounded corners, an overlay is required. The overlay is a separate zone. Overlays usually (not always) will the screen canvas and have transparent areas within the content that can show the behind zones. The use of proper z-ordering is required for overlays.
5. Will any of the content elements require a background image or will they use another content element as a background?
For example, a clock can have a background image however, it could have a transparent background in which case the zone behind the clock will be the background. Proper z-ordering is required for this to work.
6. Can a full-time element be part of a non-changing content?
For example, if there is a logo on-screen full time, can that logo be added to the overlay, or background image? If so, use an image editor to layer the logo onto the background image or overlay and reduce the need for an extra zone.
HINT: The fewer zones the better performance of the player. Try to reduce layout zones by adding full time element together or combining content elements in a single image/video.
Simple Multiple Zone Layout:
The image below show an example of a simple multiple zone layout. The areas highlighted in Red show the separate zones. In this example there are three separate zones, one for each rotating content element. There are no full-time elements, overlapping content, or non-square borders in this example.
1. Main zone
2. Side zone
3. Banner zone
Complex Multiple Zone Layout:
In this example layout below, there are many content elements each element highlighted in Red. There are some full-time elements such as the time, date, weather and logo. There is also some rotating content such as the main video zone and side image zone. Some of the elements, such as the main video zone have non-rectangular borders, which requires an overlay image. This layout depends highly on the proper use of z-ordering of the layout zones.
In this example there are 8 zone required.
1. Main video zone
2. Side image zone
3. Weather zone
4. Scrolling text zone
5. Logo zone (bottom right)
6. Clock zone (showing the time)
7. Date zone
8. The overlay zone (not displayed in red below)
Once the number of zones has been determined, if there are any overlapping zones, determining the z-order will be required before the layout can be completed.
HINT: Sometimes "trial and error" can help determine the number of zones and their z-ordering. Upload some trial content into EnGage and start building the layout. Create a program with a single piece of content per zone and add the program to a timetable. Assign and publish the timetable to a test site/player/screen. Make small changes to the layout and republish to see the changes. Making small changes, one step at a time, can help iron out all the details for a complex layout.