Use free forever

The high reliance of consumers on multiple digital channels has increased the need for high-quality and interactive content in our socially distancing society. Dynamic content and marketing automation have further shortened the time window, building pressure on creative and content teams to produce compelling content, fast!

Creative content usually requires multiple reviews and changes before the final release; this can result in numerous back-and-forths, thereby delaying the time to market. The confusion from conflicting feedback can hamper creativity and productivity. A lot of time and mindshare goes into collaborating that can be rather well-spent on generating new content and ideas.

Some researches even suggest that we spend ~30% of our work time checking emails – while this could a productive use of time for many, for the creative minds, that is a colossal waste of time, and anyone reading this would agree.

The conventional creative proofing methods of using productivity apps or instant messaging apps can do more harm than good. Hence, a proofing software that is created from ground-up for reviewing creative work should be the choice.

What is online proofing software, and what to look for in it?

Online proofing software is an advanced alternative to traditional methods of reviewing and approving, i.e., proofing the creative work. It allows creative heads of marketing, design, and software development agencies to share files and collect feedback easily, resulting in more effective and precise project management.

The unorganized online proofing usually involves pinpointing changes using inbuilt OS software and back and forth emailing or instant message exchanges; some even go to the extent of offline proofing, which involves printouts, and/or long in-person conversations.

Most of the online proofing tools improve efficiency in design collaboration; however, many of them lack some important function, which can be a deal-breaking at a later stage.

We have listed 12 features that might get overlooked while evaluating online proofing software –

1. Files of Every Type
2. White Label
3. Customizable Email Template
4. Live Website Review
5. Shared Workspace
6. Adobe CC Integration
7. Slow-Motion Video Review
8. Versioning & Comparison
9. Guest Commenting
10. Unlimited Users
11. Dropbox or Google Drive Integration
12. Pocket-friendly Pricing

1. Files of Every Type

Since almost all the organizations that are digital deals with images, GIFs, audio, video, HTML, and PDF files – the online proofing software should provide you the capability to review and approve the creative content for each of these file types.

However, each of these file types, irrespective of how prevalent they are, comes with its complexities when it comes to proofing or reviewing them; the proofing software should be equipped to overcome the complications. You would know the intricacies of reviewing the file types that you deal with every day – make sure you have your wish-list ready.

2. White Label

The white-label feature of online proofing solutions allows uploading your logo for the control panel and email drafts for file sharing via the software. Having your logo on the control panel or email draft that you share with your client can help them easily recognize the source of the file, and at the same time building a brand recall for your establishment.

Such software customization is undoubtedly a feelgood factor for you and your team too.

3. Customizable Email Template

While an online proofing system comes equipped with the ability to send default email alerts, customizing email templates with branding and your desired field information makes that cloud solution a step closer toward being bespoke.

QuickReviewer allows you to customize email alerts by letting you handpick and include the information that you don’t wish on missing out, which could vary depending on your use case.

4. Live Website Review

When it is about reviewing the web page of a live website (or the ones that are in the testing environment), project management for design feedback can become very challenging, especially when the website development team and the client are remotely working. Screenshot sharing and explaining changes on video calls can be confusing, unproductive, and the only resort.

The ‘Live Website Review’ feature should provide you with the ability to insert web URL to preview web pages and then review them on various screen sizes; this way, you can inspect elements of web pages and collaborate in real-time.

5. Shared Workspace

The workspace feature in an online proofing software should let you group items and share it with the team, eliminating email chaos. The primary benefit of a shared workspace is that the cloud storage quota is utilized from the workspace owner’s account only. Any team member in a shared workspace can upload files or review them for collaboration. The marketing or creative agencies should be able to organize files based on the projects or clients for cross-team collaboration using the shared workspace feature of the software.

6. Adobe CC Integration

Adobe Creative Cloud integration with an online proofing software means – the comments or reviews left on the proofing software can be viewed on the Adobe software used to create that file; for example, the comment left on QuickReviewer can be read on Adobe Photoshop. Ideally, the proofing software should integrate with the most commonly used Adobe tools like – Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign, and Adobe After Effects.

Adobe CC integration not just improves the user experience, but also eliminates multiple steps of collaboration within the creative team. The design team can review changes from their Adobe software and re-upload the new version directly from Adobe software to the proofing software. The designer wouldn’t miss out on design changes due to repeated switching between software. When the staff spends less time figuring out the changes, it gives them more time to produce great work.

7. Slow-motion Video Review

The online proofing system should have the feature to play videos in slow-motion so that you can examine video frames more closely. If we consider QuickReviewer, it will not just enable playing videos in slow-motion, but also it allows us to run the video in up to 5X high speed for those lengthy ones. Reviewing video in slow-motion allows precision in feedback sharing and better quality output.

8. Versioning & Comparison

Online proofing software must provide you with the ability to upload and maintain multiple versions of a file within the same review cycle. The comments left on all versions of the files should be consolidated in one place along with the revision history; this translates into added ease and productivity in content creation.

Although the objective of proofing software is to reduce the number of design iterations, multiple change requests are inevitable. Therefore the software should permit comparing versions side-by-side so that you can ensure all the changes have been implemented. The side-by-side comparison of a file only makes sense if the 2 versions are perfectly in sync, especially complex file types like multipage PDF documents and videos. In case of PDF, the ‘page scrolling’ should be in synchronization, and in case of video, the ‘play and pause’ should be in sync to the level of a second.

9. Guest Commenting

Guest commenting allows anyone with the link to add feedback, aka open link sharing. Guest commenting makes it easy to share feedback without having to register. This feature of anonymous reviewing opens the canvas for – those who are one-time reviewers, those who aren’t too involved in a project, or those who simply don’t wish to share their details.

If you are a creative agency that deals with multiple clients, moreover multiple stakeholders for each project – open link sharing for guest commenting will become a favorite feature for many of your clients.

10. Unlimited Users

While selecting any online proofing tool, you must consider the number of stakeholders that may get involved in any project. Depending upon the size and complexity associated with a content creation project, the number may greatly vary. If your proofing software has a very rigid limit on the number of reviewers per project or if the SaaS tool charges you on a per-user basis – your project management cost could sky-rocket. To make the matter worse, you might only realize such a software restriction when it is too late to migrate to a different system.

11. Dropbox or Google Drive Integration

The most seamless integration with any other online storage platform with an online proofing software is – the ability to review the files without having to move files from one platform to the other. You should have the freedom to link your online proofing software with Dropbox or Google Drive in a way that you can store/access the file from the cloud storage platform, but add your reviews for changes the way that only a proofing software can allow. Your files, this way, are stored on the cloud of your choice, and the online proofing tool gives you the advanced features to review the files with ease.

Even with such integration, your design proofing software should still act as a central point for remote team members and facilitate quick reviewing.

12. Pocket-friendly Pricing

When it comes to any collaboration or productivity software, cost-effectiveness is the top priority of any business, irrespective of its size, and it should be rightly so. While there are several studies to confirm that better collaboration can increase organizational revenue, it still becomes a perplexing situation when it comes to justifying the cost of operations on papers. Creative content creation projects are the first to come under scanner when it comes to cutting down the cost.

While there are several software systems available for online proofing of your creative projects, not all of them are equipped with all the features mentioned above. For those that have all the features you desire have sneaky costing models. Pay extra attention to the product pricing and look for a solution that gives you an inexpensive way to remove all the collaboration roadblocks.

Finding the right proofing solution:

The online proofing solutions can accelerate the input and approval process by removing the obstacles that come with overwhelming email exchanges. Finding the right solution for review and approval of your creative files can be easy by – a) having a clear understanding of requirements, and b) by knowing what you should be looking for – the 12 features mentioned above should create a guiding path for you.