You’ve got some files to send out, images, pdfs, videos, what-have-you, and you’re really tired of digging through your inbox to find feedback, new versions, all the information generated by the proofing process. Proofing software takes all that information and puts it all in one central place for easy access. You’ll also get some cool perks when using a proofing software, like automation, contextualized comments and analytics about the process.
But not all proofing softwares are created equal. They each have different features and processes they’ve prioritized. Today we’ll take a look at PageProof and Ashore together and compare their features, starting with your first looks at the program and your approvers’ experiences, automation and those oh-so-special features that might tip the boat.
The first page that greets you when you log into a program tells you a lot about that program. PageProof opens to its dashboard, designed like an inbox. This is a familiar and easy-to-understand setup for anyone who’s ever used email – so pretty much everyone. You can page through your inbox, sent, outbox, approved and all proofs. There is also the option to send a proof on any of the pages by dragging and dropping a file.
Ashore starts you off on an overview page, giving you a snapshot of your approval stats, overdue proofs and ones that are marked as not approved. You can navigate to different sections of Ashore by clicking one of the options in the top menu: overview, workflows, templates, proofs or send proof. Ashore’s proof archive (found by clicking the proofs option) shows all proofs you’ve sent, with the option to sort them by various statuses, including approved, not approved or personalized tags you’ve added.
Approvers Gotta Approve
Now, how the software works for you is very important, but the other part of the approval equation is your approvers. Your proofing solution has to be usable for every member of your proofing process.
PageProof will automatically create an account for unregistered reviewers, which they can utilize if they’d like. They’re able to view all proofs that have been sent to them and can view the same organization options you, the creative, have (such as inbox, approved, etc.). Clicking on a proof will take them to the review screen where they can view the file and make comments. PageProof offers a red pen tool to markup the proof – simply click the red pen button and click on the proof to comment or draw a box with the tool to select an area. Reviewers also have the option to attach files to a comment.
Ashore’s review process starts with the email containing the proof link. Approvers need only click that link to be taken directly to the approval screen; no account creation needed. They have three options to markup the proof – double-clicking will let them comment, or they can select the options to draw a rectangle or arrow to provide better context. All comments will appear on the right-hand menu; clicking on the comment will take you to that comment on the proof. If the proof has multiple files, the reviewer can click between them on the right-hand menu, or view previous versions by finding that option at the top of the screen.
Your approvers will have a nice experience approving in either software, but what does the software do to help you out?
Work Those Workflows (and Other Automations)
One of the big reasons to choose a proofing software is the time-saving grace of automation. You spend a lot of time pushing your proof through the approval chain and sending out reminders to approvers, and a good proofing software will take some of that load off your back.
When sending a proof, PageProof allows you to add multiple approvers and arrange them into a workflow. The proof will move through the workflow, guided by the settings you set when creating the workflow; you have the option to designate each reviewer as a mandatory or gatekeeper reviewer. A gatekeeper can send the proof back to the creative or allow it to go forward, whereas a workflow will wait for a mandatory reviewer to make a decision. If your reviewers are being a bit slow on the decision, you can “nudge” (PageProof’s reminders, which are all manual) or send them a message to remind them to review.
One of Ashore’s navigation options, as previously mentioned, is workflows. You can create and save as many workflows as you would like, and they are the main method to send a proof to multiple people. When creating a workflow, you add approver’s emails and names and designate their reminder rate – either daily, every other day, weekly or never. Workflows can be set to send a proof in order or send to all approvers at once. Even if you choose not to use a workflow, when sending to a single approver you will set their reminder rate (at Ashore we’re big fans of daily reminders). Automatic reminders will stop once a decision is made on the proof.
There are some features that require special mention, because they’re very helpful to your work. PageProof offers a smart version compare feature, where you and your approvers can view previous and current versions side by side. Smart compare will highlight differences between the two, saving your reviewers the work of trying to figure out what has changed between one version and the next, showing them just how much work you’ve done between versions.
Ashore’s proof timeline gives you a specific overview of the stats related to a specific proof. It is the central hub for an individual proof, giving you a look at the deadline, approvers and, as the name suggests, a timeline of actions taken on the proof. You can see when approvers have viewed the proof, commented or made decisions; emails sent can also be viewed on the timeline, in case you forgot what you sent out. The timeline also provides an audit trail, proving due diligence on each project.
The End of The Dime
So now you’re enchanted by either PageProof or Ashore and are reaching for your wallet – how much do you need to hand over to get access to these lovely features? At this time, reviewers on PageProof have a free account, but if you and your team need to send out proofs the Team plan is $200 a month. For that price you’ll get all the features above and unlimited proofs, reviewers and team members. You can also talk to PageProof for a customizable Enterprise proofing solution, for which pricing will vary.
Ashore offers one free plan and three paid plans; all of the plans allow you to send proofs, and as mentioned before, your approvers don’t need to worry about having an account. The main differences between each plan are the number of files you can send per month and the number of users on your account.
Just looking at price, Ashore has plenty of good features for good prices. If you want to test out all those features on our free account, sign up today!