Ray Tomlinson invented email in 1971, and until this day, it is the most widely used communication platform on the internet. While email was touted as a time-saving tool when it was introduced, the reality is that today, email is holding us back.
Even in 2020, most companies use email as their primary ‘dashboard.’ Communicating with team members, managing files, completing and reviewing tasks – if you can think of it, email has been used for it.
The problem with email being the status quo in 2020 is that this causes many companies to overlook better solutions – to their detriment. For companies that create, edit, and publish high volumes of graphics or other content, managing this process using email is a nightmare for many reasons.
One of those is version management. As you may know, in the content production process, each time a document is updated or edited, a new version is created. When working with teams, it can be challenging to manage the number of versions, who has edited them, which version should be worked on, and which is the updated version you should send to the client or publish.
For anyone who’s experienced handling this process via email, you’ll know that email is far from an ideal solution. And using a weak solution for collecting and managing versions creates ripple effects throughout the production process.
Let’s use a graphics proofing project as an example. During a typical project, those working on it will create anywhere from 3 – 9 versions of a design before it is approved and finalized. Each version is discussed, edited, and shared via email to anyone involved in the project.
In this example, the challenge lies in keeping up with the new versions you’re being sent via email, and ensuring that you’re always reviewing, editing, or approving the right one. While in theory, it sounds easy, in practice, it is very hard.
Due to vast use cases of email, the average employee receives around 121 new emails per day. As you know, keeping your inbox neat and tidy is a hassle when you receive 10 new emails a day, let alone more than 100.
This sheer volume of emails leads to many employees being overwhelmed, and where there is overwhelm, there are mistakes.
In most approval processes, there are multiple revision cycles involved, which can make it difficult for those involved to ensure they are proofing the correct version. This is especially true when managing the process via email.
Email makes managing versions a mess, which can, in turn, mean you don’t have the latest version of a document and end up working on the wrong one. It’s a common mistake and has happened to all of us at some point.
When it does, you or your team have to go back, fix the mistake, and get up to speed again. In the moment, you may not think that having to backpedal would significantly impact the profitability or timeliness of the project… but it does.
Reworks created by mixing up versions will slow down the project, sometimes even to the point where you miss deadlines. For most businesses, this extra work is not billable and thus eats into the project revenue.
What is more shocking is how quickly these little mistakes add up. A mistake like this on one project is not a big deal. In reality, though, these mistakes happen on many projects and add up to huge losses in time and money. When you look at the big picture, it’s not uncommon for a business to be wasting 35% – 50% of their time on these ‘minor’ inefficiencies.
The easiest way to prevent frustrating, costly mistakes like version mixup is to do away with email. Email is fundamentally flawed, and it’s far from an ideal platform for hosting your production and proofing efforts.
Online proofing tools, on the other hand, are ideal. With online proofing tools, you’re able to manage the whole process outside of email. By doing so, you gain access to a highly optimized, versatile proofing solution that allows you to surpass the limitations of traditional email proofing.
While there are many online proofing tools on the market today, WebProof was one of the first companies to offer the technology, and thus is a leader in the industry. For production teams who are looking for a better platform than email, WebProof offers a range of features designed to help them avoid costly mistakes like version mixups.
WebProof’s Powerful Version Management Features
Create, Navigate and Track Versions
Compared to email proofing, WebProof provides far greater transparency and control over versions. New versions can be created, labeled, organized, and worked on with ease. Everyone can see the changes applied to each version in real-time, so there is no guessing which version is the latest, or which you should be working on or sharing. Even better, WebProof allows multiple team members to edit a version simultaneously, rather than individually, like with email.
Visually Compare Versions
WebProof also enables you to view and compare versions side-by-side so they can see the changes that have been made. This is especially useful when you’re not sure which version is the latest or when presenting the new version to clients or other stakeholders.
Review Versions In Detail
The inability to review the fine details of a version when using email is a common cause of mistakes. With WebProof, you can review ‘the fine details’ of a version to identify subtle changes such as a minor color change, an artifact, or a font change. This ‘pixel’ level comparison makes it quick and easy to check what has changed and to avoid submitting work with hard-to-see mistakes.
Document All Changes
The beauty of WebProof is that it automatically stores and documents all changes that are made to a version. This way, you’ll never lose access to comments, annotations, or feedback of any kind during a project. If you ever need to go back and audit a project, you’ll always have access to the history of each version, dating back to the day it created.
Lock Old Versions
Another feature of WebProof that helps you to reduce mistakes and wasted time is the ability to lock old versions. When proofing via email, it’s easy to mix up a version because there’s no way to lock changes to outdated versions. With WebProof, previous versions can be locked to ensure team members don’t edit or leave feedback on versions that have already been superseded.
One of the biggest annoyances when trying to manage projects via email is that it isn’t a centralized system. This all too commonly leads to projects expanding into multiple chaotic email threads and versions. By centralizing everything into one system like WebProof, you’re forced to keep projects organized. As you can imagine, this alone can significantly boost the efficiency of projects.
Another benefit of centralizing is that the number of versions required in a project can be reduced by as much as a third, saving you time and money in the process.
WebProof Is The Future of Online Proofing
While the above aren’t the only ways that WebProof can help you optimize your production workflow, they should be enough to convince you that online proofing tools are superior to the status quo.
A word of advice for those considering WebProof…
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the status quo. The impact of going along with business as usual and leaving your inefficient process uncheck will have a significant cost on your business.
Sweeping these inefficiencies under the rug will cause them to build up over time, and in the long run, these costs could stunt the growth of your business.
With that said, our final question to you is, “If you’ve invested in upgrading other aspects of your business, don’t you think it’s time you upgrade to a modern online proofing solution too?”
Ready For A Better Way?
To learn more about WebProof or to sign up for a free trial of the app, please visit our site.