The following information in question and answer format is provided to help you determine which ACD readerboard, from the numerous choices available, is most appropriate for your Call Center. These questions and answers will focus your attention on the important characteristics and features to consider:

  • One Color or Multicolor: Do you want your readerboards to display characters in one color (normally, red only, although green and yellow LED's are also available), or do you want your readerboards to be able to display characters in a choice of multiple colors (red, green, yellow and combinations of these)?

  • Character Height: Do you want to see 2" high characters, 3" high characters, 4" high characters or larger? Some readerboards will display only one size character. Other models can display any size character.

  • Number of Characters Per Line: How many characters do you want to see on one line at one time? The shortest models will usually display at least ten characters at once. Longer models can display 53 characters on one line at once. All models can store many thousands of characters.

  • Number of Lines: How many lines of information do you want the readerboard to display at one time? Various models display from one to 24 lines of text at a time.
  • Number of Readerboards: How many readerboards will it take to display all queues to all agents.


  1. Do you need single color or multicolor readerboards?

    One color readerboards can be red or green or yellow. Multicolor readerboards let you specify red, green or yellow colors for your messages and ACD statistics. Single color readerboards are usually less expensive than multicolor readerboards.

    In the Alpha Call Center application, changing colors are used to draw attention to changing conditions. On a multicolor readerboard, the colors of the displayed fields change when the thresholds set by the Supervisor are reached. For example, the number of "Calls In Queue" (CIQ) normally displays in green numbers. As the number of waiting calls increases to the preset threshold, the color of the CIQ number on the readerboard changes from green to amber. If the number of waiting calls increases to the next threshold, the CIQ number changes color from amber to red.

    When single color readerboards are used, other techniques are used to indicate threshold activity. Two such techniques are flashing the statistic on the readerboard and beeping the audible alert.

    Another use of color is to distinguish messages of a certain type. For example, a hot message, such as "Managers Meeting at 3 PM," could be displayed in red letters. Advisory messages, such as "Don't forget to say Thank You!," could be displayed in green letters. Personal messages, such as "Welcome Back, Maria!," could be displayed in multicolor letters.

  2. What height must the characters be?

This depends on three factors: (a) distance, (b) emphasis needed, and (c) length of message.

Distance: The character height you require is dictated primarily by the distance at which the readerboard will be read. 2" characters may be seen clearly up to approximately 75' away. 4" characters may be seen clearly up to 125' away. If the readerboard displays both 2" and 4" characters, then the readerboard should be no farther than 75 feet away from the most distant agent.

Emphasis: If the readerboard can display both 4" and 2" characters, character height can be used for emphasis. The large 4" characters can be used to emphasize important messages. 4" characters can distinguish the ACD statistics from the Supervisor messages. For example, the Alpha Call Center system normally displays ACD statistics in 4.8" hign characters and supervisor messages in 2" high characters.

Length of Message: When 2" characters are used, more of the message can be read at one time. For example, while the Alpha 4160C can display sixteen 4" characters at once, it can display fifty-two 2" characters at once.

  1. How many characters do you need to display at one time?

    To answer this question, you have to look at both statistics and messages. You must count the number of character and spaces used by your ACD statistics. You must also anticipate how long your messages might be.

    Calculating the space required by your ACD statistics:

    Your readerboard has to be long enough to display all the statistics you want to see at one time. Here's an example:

ACD Field
Biggest Number
Number of Positions
Calls Waiting
Space Needed
Longest Wait
Space Needed
Agents Available
Space Needed
Service Level
Total Positions  

To display the ACD fields in this example on one line, you would need a readerboard that is at least 16 character positions wide.

If you also want a two-character department code at the beginning of the line (e.g.."CS" for Customer Service or "OP" for Order Processing, etc.) followed by a space, then the readerboard would have to be at least 19 characters positions wide.

CS -09 -2:17 -11 -92%

If you wanted to use special effects, such as double-wide characters to emphasize a specific field, such as "Calls In Queue", then your display would have to be one or two character positions wider still.

Calculating the space required by your Supervisor messages:

On a two-line readerboard, you can format your text on one line, using large characters, or you may format your text in two-line format using smaller characters. Our customers typically display their ACD statistics using the larger-sized characters, and they display their messages using the smaller-sized characters. This allows long messages to display quickly.

The readerboard must also be wide enough to display the longest word you will type. For example, the word "Congratulations" is 15 characters long. To display this word on the readerboard in "hold" mode, the readerboard must be at least 15 positions wide.

Messages may be any length on any readerboard, but longer messages will be read in phrases and in groups of words, according to the size of the readerboard display area and according to the display mode that you have selected -- hold, rotate (march by), roll up or down, etc.

Visualize how your ACD statistics and Supervisor messages will be displayed on alternating screens. In the simplest design, only the ACD statistics are displayed as in the example below. Note: The titles below the readerboard are for your information only. The different colors indicate the threshold level of each statistic -- green is normal, yellow is the first warning level, and red means "Let's get this call answered right now!"

06 -3:22- 11

When a message has been transmitted, the ACD statistics display for two or three seconds, then the message displays as in the following example:


We are 100% YTD!

Then updated ACD statistics display again:


The messages display, alternating with the updating ACD statistics until the messages are cleared. Then only the ACD statistics screen is displayed.

The above examples illustrate the use of a one-line, one-color readerboard. If the readerboard were a two-line model, the sequence might look like this:

06 -3:22- 11

06 -3:24- 11
We are 100% YTD!

Thank You!

A two-line readerboard can display one line at a time or two lines at a time. It can display both large and small characters. Your ACD statistics and your messages may use small or large characters and may use one-line or two-line format.

  1. How many lines do you want to display at one time?

Most Call Centers choose two-line or three-line readerboards, so that they can display more than one line at a time. Readerboards with up to 24 lines are available. Display widths range from 10 to 53 characters per line, depending on character size.

If you have a situation in which it is important to display the ACD statistics for more than one queue, as well as messages, all at the same time, then you should choose a readerboard with multiple lines. For example, if you want to show ACD statistics for three queues, and two lines of messages, then you need to order a five-line readerboard. You have probably seen this type of readerboard at airports. Airlines use multi-line signs to display each arriving and departing flight on a separate line.

  1. How many readerboards do you require?

This depends on several factors:

  • How many queues (splits, skillsets, applications) do your agents handle? Some companies display ACD statistics for only one queue on a readerboard. Other companies display the statistics for multiple queues on each readerboard. With the Alpha Call Center System, you decide which configuration suits your operation.
  • How many locations (rooms) are agents in? When agents from one queue are located in more than one room, both rooms should have a readerboard with the statistics for that queue displayed on it.
  • Are multiple queues (splits, skillsets, applications) in the same room? If agents from multiple queues are in the same room, it is often appropriate to display queue statistics for several queues on the same readerboards.
  • Are agents cross-trained to take calls for other queues? When an agent takes calls for multiple queues, then it is customary to display the ACD statistics for each of the queues on the same readerboard, so the agent can see them easily.
  • How large is the room? If the distance from the agent to the readerboard is far, then a readerboard with large characters, or additional readerboards may be necessary.
  • How many directions are agents facing? If agents are facing in different directions, it is may be necessary to install readerboards on more than one wall. Sometimes two readerboards hanging back-to-back in the center of the room can be seen by all agents.
  • How high are the partitions around each agent? If the walls of the agents' cubicles are high, it may be necessary to use a larger number of smaller readerboards. If the walls of the agents' cubicles are low, then it is usually easier to hang the readerboards where all agents can see them.

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