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When humankind decided to take the proofing process online, this transition did not come without some growing pains, pains we still experience and, through innovation, work to overcome. Taking a manual process to a virtual environment is not a direct translation, and we have to adapt to the change of location. We know that when we get the online proofing process right, each digital proof will be better for it, and creatives and approvers will be all the happier. We just have to get there.
At Ashore, we’ve worked tirelessly over the years to master digital proofing, and we’ve come a long way. Our biggest leap forward came when we rebuilt Ashore 2 from the ground up. This new iteration, Ashore 3, applies all the knowledge and experience we’ve learned along the way.
How have we improved the proofing process, though? Well, to know that, you have to know what this reengineered version of Ashore is capable of.
Ashore 2 vs. Ashore 3
For each digital proof, there are two groups of people a proofing software must consider: the creatives and the approvers. On both fronts, Ashore 3 blows Ashore 2 out of the water.
Let’s begin…at the beginning: creating and sending proofs. Previously, you could only create and send a proof in Ashore 2 one of two ways. You could either send a proof to an individual email address or to a previously created workflow. Now, with review links, the process of sending and reviewing proofs can be much more open-ended. You can immediately share a review link to begin getting your proofs reviewed, or if you have a structured workflow you’d like to use, you can append a workflow to the proof. If a proof is a special case, you can also create a workflow when you send it or modify an existing workflow you’ve appended, and it will apply only to that single instance.
Approver workflows have also gotten a makeover. It used to be the case that each stage of a workflow could only have one approver. That system didn’t always reflect the way review actually happens, though. Now, Ashore 3 gives you the option to add multiple approvers to each stage of a workflow. To improve communication, you also have the ability to customize the email message for each stage of your workflow. In Ashore 2, you only had the option to customize the message for the entire workflow.
In Ashore 3, you also have the option to reset your workflows. When you send a new version of a digital proof, you can choose which stage of the workflow to send it to. You can also choose to send to all in that stage, none in that stage (for review links) or only those unapproved in that stage. From the stage you’ve chosen, the proof will proceed as normal. This is a brand new feature of Ashore 3 that gives creatives more control over who sees new versions and changes.
Automatic reminders in Ashore 3 give you more control over communication and follow-up with approvers. Ashore 2 gave you limited ability to customize approver reminders. You could either set them to send out once daily, every other day or weekly, and you couldn’t customize the email message that accompanied them. Now, however, you have the ability to set the days and times you want to send out reminders. You can set account default reminder settings as well as custom settings for individual approvers. The email sent as automatic reminders can also now be customized. Template variables – which are also used in general email templates – will autofill information, making composing emails take a matter of seconds.
Managing proofs in Ashore 3 has become much easier thanks to the knowledge we gained from Ashore 2. First of all, we have new metrics: approval rates, average revisions per proof, and average reminders per proof. The goal of collecting data regarding your proofing process is to help you improve and streamline your business activities. You can see who requires constant poking to provide feedback, how long it takes for a proof to reach print or how many projects never reach that point at all. This is a huge improvement over the data we could provide users of Ashore 2, which essentially compared proofs sent versus proofs approved.
Your proof timeline gives you complete visibility into all the actions taken during the lifetime of a proof. This feature existed in Ashore 2 to a limited degree, but we’ve centralized more data into this location including email delivery status, the checklist that each approver approved and itemized approvals listing each file in a digital proof.
Ashore 3 also has a brand new feature: an approvers page. Here, you can view and modify settings for your database of approvers. You can see what proofs each approver is appended to, and control their reminders settings. Whenever someone clicks on a review link and enters their name to review a proof, they will also be added to your approvers page.
A proofing software is only as good as its usability. Between Ashore 2 and Ashore 3, we’ve invested a lot of time and energy into creating a platform that encourages actionable review and feedback. We’ve improved the interface for the review screen to ensure no one has to hunt around for tools or comments.
Speaking of comments, we’ve made a few changes to help this feature more seamlessly incorporate into the proofing interface. Instead of layering comments directly on top of the digital proof, we’ve relocated them to the side, clearing up the surface. When you select a comment, you’ll be taken to the point on the proof it’s connected to. You can also attach files to comments, so if approvers have a color swatch or logo they’d like you to include, it’s easy to know what and where it should go.
When giving a decision, a key change between Ashore 2 and Ashore 3 is the ability to approve individual files. Just because you included several files into a single proof does not mean an approver wants to give approval on every single one of them. We recognize the need to provide more flexibility for approvers in this regard, and so in Ashore 3, we made it happen.
What Makes Ashore the Best it Can Be?
You. With every digital proof sent on our platform, we continue to optimize our processes and build features we know will be useful for our users. No software can innovate without a strong user base, and Ashore is no exception. If you want to see how all the users who came before you have helped us streamline the proofing process, create an environment that fosters more actionable feedback and improve overall project success, sign up for a free trial of Ashore 3 today.