Which Design Collaboration Tools Give you the Best Proofing Experience?

Category: Productivity | By Abby Nash | March 15, 2019

Here at Ashore, we talk a lot about collaboration. Its importance to the review and approval process cannot be overstated. Meaningful collaboration yields the best possible outcome for projects with the least number versions. When everyone’s voices are heard, it allows everyone to feel like they have a stake in the end-product.

That’s why today we won’t just be looking at how Ashore enables collaboration during proofing. We’ll also look at some other proofing and work management platforms, as well, and see how their design collaboration tools can help creatives and approvers alike move through the proofing process.

The Metrics of User-Friendly Collaboration

Measuring a platform for meaningful collaboration is admittedly an elusive task. It’s more of a qualitative than a quantitative analysis, but there are some things I’m looking for:

Navigation: How approvers move through the proofing process affects the level of meaningful collaboration that can happen on that platform. Their journey should be intuitive with an organized layout that decreases opportunities for users to get off track.

Adaptability: This can be a bit of an ambiguous metric. Essentially, is the software suitable for a variety of scenarios and projects? If it doesn’t support a variety of file types or give you freedom to move through workflows, these are signs that it won’t adapt easily for you.

The Act of Proofing: Approvers need to have the ability to do several things during proofing: adequately review files, including their multiple versions, comment with their feedback and markup to give their feedback better context. Giving their final approval and thoughts should also be a simple task. Conversations that take place during proofing should stay out of email as much as possible and take place in the proofing software.

Accessibility: Not only is everybody involved, but it’s easy for everybody to get involved. The proofing software should have an easy onboarding process, not just for members of the creative team but also for any external clients that may be part of the process. Access should not be restricted by the need to make an account or training for approvers to fulfill their responsibilities.

Most importantly, it needs to be a friendly place to collaborate for all project stakeholders. It shouldn’t stress out external approvers or be more trouble than it’s worth for teams. During the proofing process, design collaboration tools should be aids rather than hindrances.

Collaborative Platforms

Let’s get started by looking at our first software, ProofHub.

ProofHub

ProofHub is a work management software that gives you a central place to manage and organize your teams and projects. This software manages Tasks, tracks projects, organizes discussions topics and more. But how does ProofHub perform during proofing and getting approvals?

This project management software has proofing built in to the platform. It offers some of the near-universal design collaboration tools such as threaded comments and version control. However, it is not very adaptable – only allowing proofing and approval of static files: JPEG, PNG and PDF. The lack of automated approval workflows also adds extra, manual steps to the process, making it less user-friendly.

Workfront

Workfront is a project management workhorse. Besides managing projects, it integrates entire enterprise companies so teams can work together to manage assets and have greater visibility into their workflows and processes. It also has a built-in proofing tool. How well does Workfront facilitate collaboration during proofing and approvals?

The proofing tool seems to function pretty well for teams and their external approvers. You can review, comment and markup proofs in wide variety of file types. They also have version management features and automated workflows. Because Workfront is such a robust system, there are many opportunities to lose track of proofs. Its desire to be a flexible platform for teams sacrifices easy navigation. There are several different, competing ways to submit proofs for proofing, and it can be difficult to ensure everyone receives notifications related to their projects without tagging everyone. The system as a whole is also not intuitive and accessible, with almost every user requiring a demo and onboarding training to even begin to understand the processes.

PageProof

PageProof is a proofing tool designed to streamline your review and approval process. This software prides itself on being able to support any kind of project from commercials, presentations, brochures, podcasts, websites and more. As a proofing software, how are it’s design collaboration tools at enabling helpful, project-driving review and feedback?

It has a very thorough system for workflow creation with multiple roles including reviewers, mandatory reviewers, gatekeepers and final approvers. Each role has its own permissions, so all approvers will have a clear idea of their responsibilities and stake in the project. They also have version comparison features and threaded comments that can also allow attachments in replies. Every approver has a “red pen,” and while this sounds like a markup tool, PageProof actually lacks such design collaboration tools. You can only comment on proofs, reducing the level of clarity and context feedback could have with tools such as shapes or arrows.

Ashore

Ashore is an online proofing tool that streamlines and simplifies the review and approval process for creative teams and approvers. This software manages the proofing process through a couple of easy steps from creating workflows, sending out proofs for review and managing feedback over the course of the approval process. How well does Ashore inspire collaboration, though?

This software platform was designed to be an accessible, easily-understood platform for online proofing. Our automated workflows keep the process organized and our intuitive for our users to create. Approvers need no formal onboarding or training to orient themselves to the system before they start proofing and giving their feedback. Navigating the proofing screen is easy. Design collaboration tools including threaded comments, markup tools and version controls allow feedback to have context and conversations to stay within Ashore. At the end of the proofing experience, approvers simply decide to approve or not approve a proof, and Ashore will keep track of all updates for you.

Ashore understands the importance of collaboration in online proofing, and we want to make your proofing experience as easy and beneficial as possible. To learn how we can help you work better with your approvers, schedule a demo with us! If you’re more of a fearless explorer – you can also go ahead and sign up with us, today. It’s free, after all!

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