The Ziflow Blog

Posted by Mike Puterbaugh

How We Use Ziflow at Ziflow

As our CEO wrote recently, a big driver of our decision to launch early was the fact that we were using Ziflow internally every day and proving our value proposition true: we were delivering our projects faster than we would have without it.  

We thought it’d be helpful to share how we use Ziflow online proofing internally to deliver product designs, web pages and other marketing assets.   

We Use Our Geography to Our Advantage
Ziflow is a globally distributed company, with team members in the UK, Poland, South Africa and the US. Our team spans 11 time zones - and we use that fact to our advantage.  ziflow-worldwide-presence

Normally our distributed nature might pose a challenge to project delivery (burning time waiting on an email response to a clarifying question on ambiguous feedback, being a prime example of a timeline killer).  Using Ziflow, however, allows us to keep projects moving with contextual feedback and discussions.  So even though work days in Warsaw end when the day in San Diego is just getting started, progress can be made on our web, product and marketing projects.  

If you have team members in time zones outside your own, you’ll also see the benefits of using Ziflow to collect and share actionable feedback on your creative marketing projects.

Automating Pre-Production Tasks and Processes
Even before we get to the point of kicking off a proof, we use Ziflow’s File Conversion Zibots on daily basis.  Specifically, we use these Zibots to convert native design files like AI and PSD files into formats which can be reviewed by any team member and on any device, such as JPG, PNG or PDF.   

file-conversion-zibot

Other Zibots utilized include:

  • File Naming, which keeps assets named according to our internal guidelines, which makes them far easier to find later.
  • Folder creation, copy and share: These Zibots keep our file structure organized, automating the copying of files and folders, as well as the sharing with team members (internal and external). 
Here's a quick post on how easy it is to convert image formats with a simple drag and drop.  

Collaboration
Keeping our projects on schedule (or even ahead of schedule) requires a smooth collaboration process.  When we kick off a new proof we utilize Review Groups to ensure the right team members are invited into the process and can view the assets all in the same context.  

online-proofing-review-groups

Review Groups vary from project to project. For example, our UX/UI team uses Ziflow to review new product screens and interface elements.  For our new website pages, we included the marketing team and members of the executive team.  Review Groups keep all the required stakeholders involved and informed.   

Markup and Comments
For a distributed, cross functional team like ours, Ziflow’s markup and commenting capabilities are some of the most important aspects of the product.  As I mentioned earlier, for many of our projects, Review Group members can be as far as 11 time zones away, so the ability to provide concise, clear feedback is vital to a project’s on-time success. Otherwise, it could be as long as 12 hours spent waiting on clarification.

For our website project, for example, we were able to markup actual staged web pages (not mocks) and annotate those pages with actionable feedback. That meant we could then make changes directly in our CMS and kick off new versions for review.  

online-proofing-ziflow-website

This allowed our developers to work confidently, with guidance, on change requests and have them ready as team members came online throughout the day.   

This isn’t solely about one-way comments either.  Sometimes it’s useful to ask clarifying questions, or to challenge or support a piece of feedback, using replies to comments.  This helps us avoid the context-switching of having to go into email to engage in a conversation about a particular proof or version.   

If you haven’t already, you should give our post “It’s Time to Ditch Email as a Marketing Feedback Tool” a read.  

Compare Mode
For our product designs, sometimes the changes requested were more nuanced than they were in some of our marketing assets.  

For our UI team, our pixel-level compare mode was in constant use, allowing everyone, especially the non-designers in the Review Group, to see what exactly had been changed from version to version.   

ziflow-online-proofing-compare-mode

 

Progress Updates  
Another valuable resource for us as users of Ziflow is the quick-glance progress update that the proof summary provides.  Very quickly, proof owners are able to see which team members have opened up the proof, who has provided comments and if there have been any decisions made.  online-proofing-proof-status

Given how quickly we have been moving up to our launch, it saved countless “have you had a chance to check out the proof yet?” emails and IMs, which mostly serve as distractions for all involved.  

Wrapping it Up
As you can see, we get value from using our own product each and every day here at Ziflow.

You could say that we eat our own dogfood, but in reality it’s closer to drinking our own champagne. If you’re part of a busy marketing team that could benefit from streamlined a review and approval process, check out a risk-free trial of Ziflow today.

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