I believe getting an honest proof approval is one of the most intricate parts of the design process. It’s your first opportunity to collaborate and fully understand the client’s needs. It’s why I’ve written posts about how to use layer comps and reviewed a different feedback service. It’s no surprise then that I’m still searching for a way to share proofs with a client that I’m fully content with, but in ProofHQ I think I’ve found an elegant solution.
ProofHQ is a feature rich web app that helps designers collaborate in unison with clients. They streamline your workflow from the initial proof through the final design approval.
How It Works
The proof creation process is really straightforward. You signup for a service, create a proof, upload your file and some info, and your on your way. You can send your proof to contacts for review and commenting. Your team and clients receive an email with a link to the proof. Once clicked, they are met with a simple web interface with the options to comment, reply to other comments, check out the activity, approve things, and so on. The comments are threaded so that everyone can have a chance to join in the dialog.
The interface is easy enough for the majority of clients, although I can foresee some computer illiterate clients having some difficulties. Fortunately they have video tutorials throughout the site that are all very helpful.
Uploading a new version is as easy as uploading the first. All the old versions are stored in the versions tab for review to make sure the appropriate changes are being made. Side by side comparisons can be seen which is quite handy for checking that, and the interface smartly remembers where you were zoomed in and what position you were in.
The Advantages Over Email Proofing
In addition to the awesome web interface I just showed you, this software eliminates many of the other headaches that arise when trying to handle the entire proofing process over email. No longer will you have to worry about large files sizes being bounced back, or if your client has the right software installed to view your proof. Everything just works and is one simple click away from the initial email.
Other Bells and Whistles
ProofHQ also offers integration with Basecamp, a popular project/time-tracking app. Although I haven’t gotten a chance to use that, so I can’t comment on it. In addition, you can get their desktop app, Uploadr which is a Java applet that lets you create multiple proofs directly from your desktop.
ProofHQ offers a large variety of pricing options that range from a 14 day free trial to $499/mo corporate plan. Fortunately, they have 7 different level plans to suit your needs. Quite honestly, adding any other monthly subscription to my already tight budget is the only drawback I’ve found of this incredibly helpful software. If you are only juggling a few projects than you could get away with something like the ‘Micro Plan’ of 30 proofs per month for $17/month.
For those folks looking for a better way to handle proofs, then I would absolutely recommend this web app. I have no doubt it would improve your workflow.
So what are your thoughts? What do you use to handle your proofs? Do you send by email, ftp, or use another web app?