Intro to Online Proofing
If there’s a self-evident truth in today’s workflows, it’s that the creative workflow process is broken. Feedback is transmitted in silos, spread over emails, printed markups, meetings and phone conversations – and these silos make it hard to stay on top of revisions, timelines and responsibilities.
With online proofing, you get the best of physical proofing, with the convenience and efficiency of being able to work online. The result: smoother deliveries and faster turnarounds on projects, happier clients and teams, and stronger creative.
What is Proofing?
Proofing as a practice dates back as far as the printing press – if not further. A prepress proof was used to get final approvals from different parties, before going ahead with the eventual full print run. With the advent of computers and monitors, focus shifted from the “hard proof” to the significantly cheaper and easier “soft proof”.
Creative technology and our ways of working have changed dramatically since the Gutenberg era’s days of movable type, both in terms of the media needing proofing, as well as how we manage workflows and the logistics of collaboration.
Key Considerations in Any Proofing Process
- Files being referenced for proofing: This could be a video, picture, ad campaign, brochure, or any other media that you are working on with others.
- The precise location on the file: Pinpointing the annotation to a specific frame, pixel, page, or perhaps word is critical – and requires 100% accuracy.
- The action to be taken: What needs to be done – is the task to cut a frame? Fix a fade? Change an image? Fix copy? Address a bug?
- Who needs to act: General feedback removes responsibility from any particular party – and makes timely completion less likely.
- By when: It is important to set clear expectations regarding when individual tasks and the overall project are to be delivered.
The Conventional Creative Feedback Process
Today, the proofing process is spread out across a range of platforms, each with their own set of shortcomings. Some people use synced folders on private servers (cumbersome), or FTP/Cloud hosting (limited capabilities), but most organizations without proper online proofing tools will use some combination of the following:
Probably the most common “proofing tool”. Challenges include information overload, siloed communication, and a rampant lack of clarity.
Project Management Tools
Better than emails as they are centralized and keep everyone on the same page, but not built for a content-first approach to media reviews.
Print & Hard Copy
Still a popular tool for proofing, and usually very accurate, but cumbersome, slow, and usually expensive – and definitely not ideal for video.
Often the best way to review content, especially video – but again, very slow, expensive and can be a logistical challenge.
How the Conventional Workflow Fails
Fundamentally, this “traditional” workflow applies a model based on “traditional” mediums to digital or online media. Relying on proofing solutions that relegate review and feedback to disparate or siloed systems results in a range of negative consequences:
- Conflicting feedback: “He said/she said” – but not to each other – results in political rather than creative management.
- Miscommunication: Instructions that are not tied to pixels or a frame tend to be less interpretable, meaning directives are easily lost in translation.
- Lost documentation: When you make changes, the paper trail is buried in email threads or in your PM tool’s archive – or it doesn’t exist at all if instruction was given verbally.
- Lack of transparency: Being unable to review the evolution of a project can cause a ton of aggravation, especially on a big, complex project.
- Inefficiency: Within a typical email workflow, account and project managers, directors, and others end up spending half of their time coordinating feedback and email threads.
- Inconsistency and inconvenience: Downloading large files and navigating plugin requirements are examples of common roadblocks that unnecessarily delay and confuse projects.
At its core, successfully implementing an online proofing platform will rest on two key factors:
Your team members’ and clients’ tech-savviness can vary considerably. You need an intuitive tool that’s easy to learn and use.
You have a range of content-specific proofing needs, whether media or workflow based. Your tool must meet these requirements to add any real value.
The Benefits of Online Proofing
Online proofing is a very easy win. It’s easy to implement, integrate and deliver results without downloads, installs or plugins. With a properly implemented online proofing solution, you can expect:
Faster Version Turnaround
Avoid headaches over partial or miscommunicated feedback. Now, everyone is on the same page
Lower Project Management Costs
Curtail siloed threads to reduce unnecessary back-and-forth and improve how you are tracking deadlines and approvals.
Accelerated Project Completion
Create fewer versions, save on printing costs, and have an easier time meeting deadlines.
Streamline revisions and communication – and cut down on feature creep with transparent feedback.
Less Time Wasted
Host fewer meetings, make fewer phone calls, and send fewer emails.
Create an altogether better experience for clients and teams – they might just thank you for it.
Online proofing does not need to disrupt your workflows – it can integrate seamlessly and should be intuitive to adopt.
The results are immediate. Produce stronger work in a shorter time period, put less of a burden on your teams, save your money…
…and collaborate better.
The highest rated online proofing solution
”It is easy and quick to upload a file and get a link for reviewing. All of the client's comments are in one place, no matter how many people review the file. That means just ONE VERSION of a file with all the comments in one place. No more reconciling comments from different sources!Chris H.Vice President, Communication
”We have teams in different countries and ReviewStudio was the perfect solution to unify the process!Beatriz P.Head of Marketing
”The software is very intuitive and is packed with a plethora of tools. The dashboard is great and makes organization of our internal files a breeze. The robust toolset makes it easy for anyone to pick up within minutes of using, and there are handy keyboard shortcuts to boost productivity as well!Josh B.Graphics Coordinator
”I like that anyone can comment and review that it's updated in real time on the web for everyone else to see. I like that it's visual and easy to use.Joshua G.Owner
”ReviewStudio is a sophisticated tool, but intuitive and easy to use by anybody on all platforms and screens.Andre W.Creative Director
”It is so easy to upload and share content with stakeholders, and sooo much better than passing around files. Love the version history and how all revision requests are archived for review. Our customers love working with us this way and the learning curve is non-existent. We love Review Studio!Jim A.Sr Manager, Creative Services