What is Online Proofing?

The Need for Online Proofing 

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.

ReviewStudio is an online proofing software
what is online proofing? it's a process of approving documents and other files online

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.
online proofing software - review studios

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:

1

Email

Probably the most common “proofing tool”. Challenges include information overload, siloed communication, and a rampant lack of clarity.

2

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.

3

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.

4

Meetings

Often the best way to review content, especially video – but again, very slow, expensive and can be a logistical challenge.

assign tasks to team members with mentions for feedback and approvals

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.

Less Aggravation

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.

Client Loyalty

Create an altogether better experience for clients and teams – they might just thank you for it.

It's Easy.

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

Learn more about ReviewStudio