A simple, but powerful PDF approval tool with some unique functionality. Designed to automate and replace manual email proofing.
At Drupa 2016 Enfocus took the industry by surprise when it debuted a new PDF Approval technology for its award winning automation solution Switch. Based on PitStop, Enfocus’ other award winning technology for the preflight, correction and editing of PDF files, the PDF Review Module provides a simple, yet extremely powerful and cost-effective solution to review and approve or reject native PDF files.
“The project actually started as something completely different” states Andrew Bailes-Collins, Senior Product Manager responsible for the PitStop product family, “We had a completely different product idea initially, but when we discussed our plans with customers to obtain their feedback, it became apparent that there was another need.
Customers were looking for a very simple prepress-based PDF review and approval solution. One that could be used by a wide range of customers, from the average man-in-the-street, up to a prepress professional, without cumbersome job setup requirements or the need for training. That is how the PDF Review Module was born.”
Automating email Soft Proofs
The goal of the solution is to replace manual email soft proofing and overcoming the problems and inadequacies with that process.
Bailes-Collins continues, “We found when talking to customers, even those who have sophisticated portal solutions within their workflows, that email proofs were still a part of their daily production process. They use their portals for customers with whom they do regular business with, but for ad hoc jobs, or customers who they do one or two jobs a year for, they instead send email proofs.”
“One of the problems with emailing PDF proofs is that customers have no control over what type of PDF viewer their customers are using when looking at the PDF files. This opens up a big can of worms with regards to the incorrect rendering of overprint and transparencies, and what’s shown on screen. In addition we found that many customers create a different PDF file to email, often in a lower resolution and converted to RGB to overcome email size limitations.”
“Given most emails are generated manually, we set out to create a solution which automates the email proofing process, and resolves the common issues which cause confusion and customer dissatisfaction.”
The PDF Review Module is provided as an app for Switch – which can be downloaded from the Enfocus Appstore – and an external web server application. The app is installed in Switch and can be added to any Switch flow. The web server can be installed either locally or externally in a customer’s DMZ, in a datacenter or on a cloud server.
The PDF Review Module sends an email to a single customer, which can be designed in HTML and branded, and which will include a link. When the link is clicked, the customer’s default browser opens and the high resolution PDF file is loaded. Crucial for the customer is that nothing else needs to be downloaded or installed, nor is a user name or password required. The interface is dynamic supporting different designs for tablet and desktop viewing.
“The user experience was something we focused on extensively.” states Bailes-Collins, “We employed an external UX company to help us with the design, and the feedback we received at Drupa and from our field testers afterwards, really justified that investment. The clean simple design was really appreciated, as well as the fact that the tools available to the user can be customized automatically for each customer, depending on their knowledge and experience.”
The PDF Review Module comes with all the necessary tools one would expect for an approval tool, including a few unique ones. Users have the ability to look at the individual color separations, check for ink coverage, add annotations, a densitometer tool is available, as is a wireframe view. Document information can be seen, and when an object in the PDF is selected, then they can see the attributes of that object just as they can in the PitStop Pro Inspector. “Given that PDF is part of the Enfocus DNA, users should expect a little more from us” remarks Bailes-Collins.
“When we previewed the concept, people loved the toolset, but they were a little concerned that it might be too much for some customers. With that feedback in mind we made the interface completely customizable and dynamic. If necessary, each customer can be shown a different set of tools so they don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated, and as this is all done automatically it makes the solution very user friendly.”
The approval options for the PDF Review Module are also completely customizable. They are based on the Switch flow. The number of approval options and the approval terminology and language used can vary from Switch flow to Switch flow.
“We’ve had over 50 customers and 40 partners pilot testing the solution since Drupa, some using it in full production. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re really excited to make the solution now available to other users.”
The PDF Review Module requires the Switch Core Engine 13 update 1 and above. For maximum automation and efficiency it is recommended to include the Switch Metadata Module to the Switch configuration.
The PDF Review module is currently available in 17 languages, including: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, Swedish and Russian, other languages will follow.
The PDF Review Module includes 5 concurrent clients and costs €3000/$3600 for the license plus mandatory first year maintenance of €600/$720. Additional client packs are also available.
A minimum Switch configuration of Switch Core is required, and it is recommended to also have the Switch Metadata module for enhanced automation.
For more details on the solution or on pricing and available software bundles please visit the www.enfocus.com website or consult with a local Enfocus channel partner.