A Review of ProofHQ

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proofhq

Intro

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.

comments

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.

Revisions

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.

comparison

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.

The Cost

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.

Conclusion

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?

About the Author

Andrew is a primary contributer for MyInkBlog. He is a full time web developer for Niagara University. When he's not working there, he's a blogger, twitter'er, wordpress'er, silverstripe advocate, blessed father and husband.

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  • http://1password.com Dan V Peterson

    Have you ever tried out conceptshare.com? Sounds like it does the exact same thing, was wondering how this compares to it in actual use.

  • http://www.myinkblog.com Andrew Houle

    @Dan – Thanks for the tip. I just checked them out, they look like they offer a very similar service. From the brief time I checked it out, I would suggest it’s just a matter of preference and pricing plan.

  • http://www.conceptshare.com Scott Brooks

    There are some differences between ConceptShare and ProofHQ.

    Where I see the main point of differentiation is ConceptShare bases the interaction on a workspace. The workspace is the central communications point for an entire project not just for proof.

    ConceptShare allows users to manage the project and all the visual assets for a project. So if you could imagine that a project, it is never just one piece, there are websites, minisites, iphone apps, banner ads, POP, vehicle wraps, billboards, videos. With all of the associated visual data that needs to be discussed it becomes a communication nightmare. ConceptShare allows the user to jump in and make the comments and have discussion with others over the visuals. This allows the designers to get the feedback they need to move forward on the designs with out having to chase feedback as the system manages all the notifications. So our approach is more project centric from cocktail napkin sketches to final product.

    I think that these types of tools fix a fundemental problem with the way that we worked this end of the business. I think the less time chasing, interpreting faxed back comments, digesting feedback from multiple project stakeholders is a win for any company.

    The way most companies handle this sort of interaction is based on systems and processes that evolved for the days before computers. The “systems and processes” then transformed to meld with the advances of fax machines and then email. Each time the process changed a little bit to accomodate the new technology but was still rooted in the old logic.

    These new collaboration products allow people to collaborate and communicate over visuals deliver a huge advantage to companies that choose them. It is certainly something that will make lives easier for designers, Art and Creative Directors, Marketing Managers, UX designers, and the list goes on. Oh yeah your clients will love them too.

    Cheers

    Scott

  • http://www.pixelapes.com Donn

    I signed up for a free trial with ProofHQ a while ago after getting a free trial to Redmark here. Although I thought Redmark was very good, ProofHQ seemed to have a bit more functionality.

    Although to me everything seems very straightforward, it may not be quite as easy for some of our non web savvy clients who aren’t used to web interfaces. I haven’t really had time to test it out properly yet but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far and think it could be a really useful tool.

    Donn´s last post was… Increasing your WordPress Security

  • http://www.myinkblog.com Andrew Houle

    @Donn – Thanks for the feedback! Redmark does have excellent potential, and the fact that it’s free helps a lot. But I agree that ProofHQ has more features and generally feels and works more professionally. I would recommend either product, as it depends on the individual’s needs.

  • http://www.proofhq.com Mat

    Hi, it’s Mat from ProofHQ.

    Thanks for the review Andrew and for the comments.

    @Scott. Completely agree that moving to tools like this is an evolution for clients. Some jump straight into it and others needs handholding. Once they do jump thought, the productivity gains are great.

    Just to clarify, ProofHQ does have workspaces within which proofs can be organised by project/client – in fact any way that you want. Proofs also have versions, so you can quickly and easily keep track of all revisions of a design, including all comments.

  • http://upshotapp.com Jean-Baptiste

    Hi guys!

    First let me say congrats to both @scott and @mat, you have really amazing products guys (and great ways of managing communication, community…)

    So I’m the cofounder of a small but nice French startup and we are doing UpShot (http://upshotapp.com).
    It’s kind of half a competitor and half the perfect partner to those feedback tools.

    We focus on simplicity and efficiency which means that every non techie customer can understand how it works within 15 seconds.

    Why is it competition? Well because we basically work on the same concept (helping designers get more time to create)

    Why is it that complementary ? Because ConceptShare or ProofHQ fit perfectly for exchanges between designers or designers and DAs but might be too much for end customers or people processing lots and lots of picture reviews.

    Anyway, cool to e-see you guys !
    (you should come to have a coffee in Paris)

  • http://www.proofhub.com Alex

    I have used almost every proofing application on the web be it Proofhq, Conceptshare or ProofHub.Proofhq is easy to use but sharing becomes difficult if u are not using Basecamp.

    Personally for quick and easy reviews i find ProofHub the best. Give it a try.
    Here it is: http://www.proofhub.com/mini