The proofing process is essential for any businesses involving creative work for reviewing and approving the creative products so that all parties involved are happy with the deliverables.
On the other hand, the proofing process is often time-consuming, repetitive, and frustrating for both the graphic designer, content creator, other creative workers, and the approver/reviewer.
This is where online proofing comes in, which can significantly improve the review and approval workflow process’s efficiency, ensuring faster delivery of projects and more accurate deliverables.
What Actually Is Online Proofing?
Document proofing is undoubtedly not a new thing and has been around for as long as the printing industry itself. Proofing is essential since back then (and even until today), press time is the most expensive part of the printing process, and pre-press proofing allows us to review and pick up potentially costly errors.
Also, typically the proofing would serve as a written agreement between the printer and client (and other parties involved) that the deliverable was as desired.
In the past, however, proofing is only possible by providing a hardcopy, printed proof to the stakeholder or client (the approver).
Fast forward to the early days of the internet, home printers, and other technologies, ‘soft’ proofing is now made possible, allowing a more affordable and faster alternative to hardcopy proofing. Email-based proofing is an example of a soft-proofing process, but it is not without issue. There can be issues replicating the color accuracy of hardcopy proofing, for example, when the client is using a different monitor. Also, it can be difficult to communicate ideas via email, which often results in long email threads and endless revision processes.
With online proofing software like WeAproove, online proofing is the next evolution of soft proofing. It allows all parties involved in the approval process to use cloud-based technology and high-speed internet to perform the online proofing process in real-time.
Aproove, for example, allows approvers to provide feedback and comments on the deliverable itself in a centralized place. Both creative workers and approvers can use powerful annotation and markup tools to communicate their points, allowing for a more efficient approval process and more accurate deliverables.
How Online Proofing Can Help Improve The Approval Process
Most organizations still employ an email-based approval process that is often very inefficient and resource-heavy, that typically involve the following tasks:
- Manually printing out copies or emailing large PDF attachments to clients
- Posting comments to a spreadsheet and/or on email threads
- Collating revisions
- Asking for follow-ups and chasing approvers
- Keeping track of who has approved/responded to the latest deliverables
- Managing the cluttered email threads
And so on.
Not to mention, during disputes, we are often required to search endless emails for just a version of the deliverable, which can be very frustrating and time-consuming.
Online proofing eliminates these activities’ inefficiencies by placing the deliverable/digital asset in a centralized, cloud-based software. By using a wide variety of annotation and markup tools, all parties involved can review the content in real-time, and all discussions happen directly within the online proof.
In turn, this provides more transparency to the whole approval process and more accountability for creative workers, stakeholders, clients, and everyone involved in the approval process.
In turn, online proofing can produce the following benefits:
1. Eliminating Bottlenecks
In online proofing, all parties involved in the approval process can review the same cloud-based proof, allowing everyone to comment and provide feedback in real-time. People in different geographical locations can join the discussion anytime they see fit, eliminating a significant time zone bottleneck.
This will eliminate the unnecessary back-and-forth emails, which can lower the number of revisions and allow the project to stay on time and budget.
2. Better Control and Transparency
Email threads and spreadsheets are not designed to meet the collaborative needs of proofing and approval processes. It is challenging to keep track of individual replies and comments, and the sender has to collate multiple threads back together and ensure all the reviewers are looking at the latest proof.
On the other hand, online proofing software provides a centralized hub where a single, cloud-based copy of the file can be annotated and commented on for all to see. This is why online proofing users have reported a significant increase in management and control efficiencies than traditional, email-based proofing.
3. More Efficient Communication and Collaboration
Online proofing can significantly reduce the need for structured meetings and back-and-forth emails. By providing a centralized place for real-time communications, online proofing can better accommodate remote working scenarios where team members are located in different areas.
By providing Online Proofing, you give an easier way to communicate and collaborate with a seamless and successful approval cycle. This ensures better-quality deliverables that are delivered on time and budget to maximize cost-efficiency and ROI.
Online proofing can help eliminate the crucial disadvantages of the traditional proofing process.
While hard-copy, physical proofing is still viable, and face-to-face interaction can indeed be more effective, it is costly and often time-consuming. Also, we have to consider that the approver might not be located in the exact geographical location.
On the other hand, in an email-based process, exporting files into sendable attachments can be time-consuming, which can accumulate throughout the endless revision cycles.
Online proofing eliminates those issues while also providing various other benefits discussed above. Keeping track of online proofing software feedback is more seamless and efficient, allowing us to eliminate bottlenecks and produce a higher-quality creative product faster.