Setting up digital signage with a Chromebox

by Kathleen McClure of the Okefenokee Regional Library System


Overview
Google Account
Drive: Create Slideshow
Chrome App Developer Account
Chrome App Builder
Publish App
Google Admin Console Configuration
Creating Signs


Google Account

Set up or sign in to a Gmail account for your library system. We use a generic Gmail address not tied to the georgialibraries.org domain. Once in your account, find the Google apps icon in the upper right corner, click on it and then on Drive.
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Drive: Create slideshow

Click on New

Click on Google Slides

Change the name Untitled presentation to one that uniquely identifies the location of the signage. We have one sign per branch, so each slideshow is named for the branch.

Create a few placeholder slides with text and/or pictures.image004

Click File -> Publish to the web…
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Choose how long you want each slide to show before changing. Check the boxes for auto-start and loop slideshow.

Copy the link in the box and paste it into a text editor to use later.

Our link looks like this: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZN5H6o4Ivh6CTXt8w4OIJ7jJI12JUttCYkh_MaZ4Rdo/pub?start=true&loop=true&delayms=5000


Chrome App Developer Account

Go to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/developer/dashboard. You may need to log in.
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You will need to pay the $5.00 registration fee; it will allow you to publish up to 20 apps.


Chrome App Builder

In a Chrome browser window, search for Chrome App Builder or navigate to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chrome-app-builder/ighkikkfkalojiibipjigpccggljgdff?hl=en and Add to Chrome.

Open the App Builderimage009

Give your app an identifying name.

Paste the link to your Google Slides presentation in the field for Homepage.

For a clean look, leave the following boxes unchecked: Enable back/forward navigation buttons, Enable home button, Enable reload button, Enable Restart session button.

Set Session idle timeout, Timeout to return home, & Rotation to 0, Terms of Service should be blank.

Make sure the Kiosk mode enabled box is checked.

Create a folder for your app’s save location and Export kiosk app to that location.

Right-click on the app folder, click Send to, then Compressed (zipped) folder.


Publish App

Return to your Developer Dashboard (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/developer/dashboard)

Click Add new item

Accept the terms and conditions (first time only)image011

Click Choose file

Navigate to your app’s zipped folder and select it

Click Upload

Begin filling out the fields. You will need an icon, screenshot and promotional tile. We just used our library logo in varying sizes. Stick to .jpg or .png.

Icons:

  • 128×128 total pixels
  • For square icons, use alpha to make 16 of the 128 pixels per side transparent (96×96 visual weight)
  • For circular icons, the visual icon should be 112×112 (use alpha to make the remaining pixels transparent)
  • For other shapes, use alpha to maintain the same 96×96 visual weight
  • Your icon should be flat; avoid noticeable perspective, 3D, and shadows.
  • Don’t use text in your icon.

Screenshots:

  • 1280×800 or 640×400

Promotional tiles:

  • Small tile – 440×280:
  • Large tile – 920×680: (optional)
  • Marquee – 1400×560: (optional)
  • Fill the entire region, using square corners and no padding (full bleed).
  • Use a medium or dark background.
  • Avoid text in the image as much as possible.

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We used our library’s homepage for the website and choose Marketing & Analytics for the category. We left all other boxes and options blank/as default.

For Visibility options, click Unlisted.

Click Publish changes. Click OK.

You will see the store item page for your new app. Navigate back to your Developer Dashboard. You should see your app appear under Your Listings.

Click More info for your app. Copy your Item ID.image017


Google Admin Console Configuration

First, be sure that you have a subcategory/ies created for your respective Organizational Units (OUs) for Signage. If you do not have this, contact the GPLS System Administrator.

Go to admin.google.com and sign in.

Click on Device Management.

Click on Chrome Management.

Click on Device Settings.

Navigate to your Signage subgroup in the appropriate OU.
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Scroll down to find Kiosk Apps. Click Manage Kiosk Applications.

Click Chrome Web Store.

In the Search on Chrome Web Store field, paste your app’s Item ID.

Click Add next to your app. Click Save.

Under Kiosk Settings, set Public Session Kiosk to Do not allow Public Session Kiosk and Auto-Launch Kiosk App to your signage app.

Click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.

Make sure your signage Chromebox is up to date and start or restart it.

Repeat the process for creating Slides presentations, using the App Builder, publishing and configuring your Admin Console for each different branch/separate sign you want.


Creating Signs

Gimp is free image editing program. Download it here: http://www.gimp.org/

Layers are your friend. Here is a very basic introduction: https://youtu.be/jrVnI3l9fgE

A template 960 (wide) x 540 (tall) pixels is recommended for creating signs with good resolution and fit for Slides.