Serious question. Are you hooked on Ashore, yet?
If not, that’s okay. We know there are a lot of SaaS companies out there fishing for your service and promising to improve your workflow and approval process. Even though Ashore is just one of many, we know we’ve got something special for creatives. It’s not enough for us to know, though – we’ve got to show you, too!
And that’s why we love to see what our other proofing software companions are doing. In this blog, we are going to take a closer look at GoVisually, a creative proofing software out of Australia. Since its founding in 2011, GoVisually has been helping freelancers, internal design teams and creative agencies collaborate better online with their clients and other team members.
Since Ashore and GoVisually seek to do similar things for the same types of customers, it only makes sense to see how we match up against them. So, these are the questions I’m going to answer for each platform:
- What can you proof on each platform?
- How is the proofing experience on each platform?
- How does each platform engage clients in the approval process?
- For creatives, how usable is each platform?
Well, let’s get into it!
Ashore vs. GoVisually
What can you proof on each platform?
GoVisually groups your proofs together by project. To upload a design, you either start a new project or upload a design to an existing project. While you can upload especially large files on their platform, you can upload image files. JPGs, PDFs, PNGs or PSD files are all good, but word documents, videos, HTML or other file types won’t work on GoVisually’s platform. To proof those files, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. This platform will also only allow you to upload files from your computer.
On Ashore, you can proof a wide variety of files including images, PDFs, videos, word documents and HTML. Multiple files can be included in one proof you send out to approvers, so you won’t have to upload each one individually. On word documents, you can even edit the text in Ashore rather than just pointing out mistakes with annotation tools. For proofing videos, comments are tied to a specific point on the page as well as a timestamp in the video. You can also upload your files from several different locations including your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud storage.
How is the proofing experience on each platform?
To understand the proofing experience, there are a few things to consider: what markup tools you have, your commenting abilities and how easy the process is for newbies to get the hang of.
Markup and Commenting Tools
On this front, Ashore and GoVisually have a lot in common. Each platform comes with arrows, boxes and threaded comments that anyone reviewing the proof can use. They also both allow you to reply to and resolve comments.
Ease of Use
GoVisually tries to keep things on their interface organized for all collaborators with a sidebar on the left to help reviewers navigate between projects, designs and pages. They also make it easy to view different revisions and even upload new ones while on the collaboration interface. Still, this platform is not always quick for clients to pick up once they have signed in, and no brief instruction is provided. Navigating to other proofs they can view is not intuitive in the system. Leaving feedback, for clients and team members, seems to go smoothly, though the different proof statuses can be confusing. Even though a proof has been approved by one or more reviewers, new versions can still be uploaded until the proof has been “finalized,” and these new versions are hard to locate.
Ashore makes usability a priority for approvers and creatives. When approvers are invited, they only click a secure link and then they begin proofing. All files and versions contained in the proof are accessible.The system is designed to make sure that approvers won’t have to leave the proofing screen until they have decided to approve, not approve or approve with changes. When a new version is uploaded, all approvers are notified to give approval, saving them from the confusion of navigating through all of the proofs.
How does each platform engage clients in the approval process?
Clients, or approvers outside of your organization, are the most important part of the approval process and also the biggest obstacle if your processes are complicated or cumbersome. The success of any proofing system relies in how well it can engage your clients and help move the approval process along.
Outside reviewers don’t technically need an account, but in instances where they access a proof through a secure link that you emailed them, they will have to give some information: their name, email and a password. They will be able to use this information to access any proof in the future. So, while this isn’t exactly like making an account, in practice it is, and this can be a barrier to getting your projects approved. What happens if a client forgets their login information?
Sometimes, clients need a little nudge to get through the process of proofing and giving feedback. In cases like that, GoVisually gives you an option to remind them. Unfortunately this is not an automatic feature. You have to go to the proof, look at the list of reviewers and select who needs the reminder. With reminders not being automatic, it may just make more sense to email them yourself, especially if you have to log in to GoVisually to send a reminder.
Ashore doesn’t require approvers outside of your organization to log in at any point to review and give feedback. Emailed links are sent to each approver individually from within Ashore so creatives will never need to be responsible for emailing a link to multiple people at once. Clicking on the link they receive is all they need to do to start proofing.
In instances where you need to help your approvers remember to proof a file, Ashore allows you to set up automatic reminders for each approver. They can be reminded as frequently as necessary until they have made a decision about the proof. You can also set deadlines for receiving approvals and the reminders can be set to relate to that date.
To keep approvers updated on your projects, you can also send messages directly to them from Ashore. Whoever the current approver or approvers are in the workflow sequence will receive your message. With this ability, you can notify them of important information or developments, and you won’t have to take the time to find out where a proof is in the approval process and send a message yourself.
For creatives, how usable is each platform?
The success of a proofing software rests in how versatile it is. It needs to fit well into your current work processes and address the shortcomings of your approval process with approvers. One of the most essential ways a proofing software can do this is by helping you organize your workflow.
For proofs that must go through a multi-tiered approval process, it’s helpful to have a system that can manage the order and send your proofs on without you needing to manually intervene. There may also be times when you just want all of your approvers to review a proof in a more unstructured workflow. Having the option to structure your workflow gives you more options on the proofing platform.
On GoVisually, you only have the option to send to all reviewers at once rather than in a sequence. You can always add reviewers throughout the process, but the system doesn’t manage the workflow for you. When you send a proof you have two options: you can either input their email and GoVisually will email them individually or you can copy a URL and manually email all of the approvers yourself.
Ashore gives you a few options when organizing the approval process for a proof. When you send a proof, you can set up an automatic workflow. The proof will be sent to your approvers in a sequence, and when one approves it, Ashore automatically sends it along to the next person in line. In situations where you are looking more for unbridled feedback and collaboration, you can send a proof to all of your approvers at once. In either case, Ashore keeps creatives up to date on any actions taken by approvers on the proof. After the initial setup, you won’t have to take anymore actions.
Every system has its own strategy for organizing your proofs for easy retrieval and reference. There’s no definitive right way to organize your proofs library; it just matters that it works for you.
During proofing, GoVisually has four stages: needs review, needs changes, approved and finalized. Needs changes and approval are at the same stage in the process. Up until a proof has been finalized, reviewers can still make actions on it. The owner of the proof has to manually move a design to finalized, and they can do this at any time.
Projects on GoVisually are organized by date added. To move a project back to the top, they recommend that you rename it. On the highest tiered of their plans, GoVisually also has a feature that allows you to archive and restore your projects. This saves everything including comments, reviewers and versions.
Ashore has four stages as well, and your proof library color-codes each group for easy identification. Sent proofs are yellow, not approved proofs are red, approved proofs are gray and overdue proofs are purple. You’re notified of status changes as the proof moves along through the process.
With our tags feature, you can manage and group your projects however you want to: by quarters, client, project, type of proof, etc.
Since you’re using this software for your business, it’s important that you can add your own personal touch to the process while using it.
GoVisually allows you to upload your own logo in place of GoVisually’s logo on the platform. It will work just like a profile picture.
Ashore also allows you to upload your own logo to the platform. Additionally, since Ashore sends emails to your approvers, you can customize the email signature with your branding and logo and even make custom email templates. When GoVisually sends an email, there is no option to edit the text that your reviewers see. In Ashore, you customize your message and save them for use in the future.
The proofing process has a lot of moving parts to keep track of and a lot of information and decisions you need to keep a record of. When you use a software to help make the proofing process easier for you, it should also be equipped to provide documentation of the process for the future.
GoVisually allows you to export comments with designs. With this ability, you can save your designs along with any feedback you received on each version in a secondary location.
Accompanying each proof on Ashore is a timeline that keeps a record of all activity that happens with it during the proofing process. This includes who has viewed it, who has approved or not approved it, when a new version was sent, any messages sent during approval – literally everything. You can even add internal notes to the timeline for your own reference. Ashore also lets you include comments on PDF exports, for whenever you want to take proofing off-Ashore or store your records in a secondary location.
How’d We Do?
GoVisually has missed some opportunities to introduce automation and organization to the proofing process, but it does streamline collaboration online for those looking for simple solution.
The creative minds behind Ashore have worked very hard to make a system that makes your lives easier. By giving you a variety of ways to upload proofs, a streamlined proofing process with the markup and annotation tools you need, a client-friendly approval process and features that automate some of the more tedious aspects of getting sign-off.
For those brave explorers who want to see if Ashore is the solution for you, sign up today with a free account!