What is Online Proofing?

Most creative agencies know their proofing workflow needs improvement.

Right now, most creative teams proof their work by uploading the content to a PDF and sending it off for review, either to a more senior member of the creative team or to the client for comments and approval. As you may already know, PDFs are unfathomably difficult to edit. Sure, they look like a slightly fancier Word document, but making even minor comments requires downloading specific software and having a fundamental knowledge base of how it works.

It’s less than ideal for creative teams because a typical proof review involves one team making their comments, saving the file, uploading it to Google Drive, and sending an email to the other team, who then has to download the file, make the changes, and re-upload it to the cloud. It’s not smooth, but creatives are so used to the process they get on with it and don’t complain too much; they don’t realize how much time is lost in the endless waiting and constant delays.

The real problems arise when clients get involved. They don’t spend their time submerged in a sea of PDFs. They might not be familiar with the best practices of making comments or might not use the same software your agency uses and require it to be set in a different format. Sometimes they make comments on the local document and when they upload the PDF, the changes disappear. There are all kinds of ways the current proofing process can get delayed.

Here’s the good news: there are technologies to make your proofing experience better. Over the course of this blog, we’ll explain what online proofing is and how it can make you, your creative teams, and (most importantly) your clients much happier with the process.

What is Online Proofing?

Online proofing takes the best part of the current proofing system, that clients and creative teams can be spread out across the world, and removes its most annoying features—most notably the never-ending struggle to edit and communicate via a PDF.

With online proofing, all the edits and comments are made in one place. Once the document is uploaded to the online proofing software, people can be invited to collaborate. They’ll be notified via email that they have been added to the proofing document and that their feedback is required. From there, they can review the file and make their comments.

When everyone has had their turn reviewing the document, the creatives can dive in and make the changes. If required, they can again upload the document and invite the required people to leave their feedback. Put simply, online proofing makes the review process as easy as commenting on a Google Doc, but for images, videos, audios, and webpages. It can all be done on a web browser, avoids problems with incompatible software, and ensures everyone has access to the file.

3 Benefits of Online Proofing Software

There are many benefits to bringing online proofing software into your tech stack.

1. It eliminates the need for email approvals.

Long back and forth email chains can be a huge hassle. Someone clicks on the wrong file, an important email gets buried, or messages get skimmed and key information isn’t properly conveyed. The room for error is boundless. With online proofing software, all your correspondence happens in one place. Just like that, many of the most common causes of mistakes are gone.

2. It provides greater transparency into the projects’ status.

Project managers aren’t always sure exactly where the project is at. Sure, it got sent to the client a few days ago. But have they looked at it? Did everyone make comments? Are those comments even useful? An online proofing tool allows project managers to quickly pop into the project and check if any progress has been made. If a client was granted access two days ago and they haven’t made any comments, they can then follow up to ensure the deliverables stay on track.

3. Online proofing allows for consistent markup.

Right now, many people use Adobe Acrobat for the light-edits that most revisions require. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Some may use the default app on their Mac, or some other PDF reader they bought ten years ago and refuse to move away from. This can create all sorts of issues and limitations with providing feedback. With online proofing, everyone has access to the same tools every time they make feedback. That means that everyone involved in the process, from clients, to project managers, becomes more familiar and efficient with the tools available to them.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubt that online proofing is far superior to long email chains that send PDFs and other files back and forth. It’s easier to use, more efficient and eliminates much of the stress that revisions can cause project managers. The quicker your creative agency brings online proofing software into the fold, the quicker you can complete projects and the happier your clients will be.

See how FP’s Online Proofing tool can help your team save time and increase productivity. Contact us at sales@functionpoint.com for a live demo.

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