ProofHub Review

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Date Established
2011
Location
Walnut, California

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Customizable feature set
  • Reasonable monthly cost

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Limited integrations

Overview:

ProofHub was launched in 2011 by SDP Labs, a web design, and development company based out of Walnut, California. The creation of this unusual software was a direct result of its parent company’s primary aim: “to innovate products that help people get work done faster, together.” By combining a simple proofing tool with an online project management solution, SDP Labs created a thoroughly distinctive software system, capable of much more than basic task management. Now, ProofHub operates as an independent company, ProofHub LLC.

Over the last few years, ProofHub has attracted a wide customer base, from large corporations to fledgling start-ups. Some big-name users of this software include TripAdvisor, Harvard University, Taco Bell, the University of Kent, and Wipro. ProofHub is currently available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, German and French. Soon, ProofHub will also be available in Russian.

Web-Based (SaaS) or On-Premise:

ProofHub is entirely web-based software, compatible with the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome, as well as Internet Explorer and Safari.

Pricing:

ProofHub offers just two different pricing plans:

Essential Plan:

  • 40 projects
  • Unlimited users
  • 15 GB storage
  • “Core features,” including:
    • Time Tracking
    • Proofing
    • Gantt Charts
    • Task Management
    • Much more!

“Ultimate Control” plan

  • Unlimited projects
  • Unlimited users
  • 100 GB storage
  • “Core Features”
  • Custom Roles
  • Custome Workflows
  • Project Manager
  • Priority Support
  • More!

All plans are eligible for a free, 30-day trial which does not require you to input credit card information. The initial sign-up process is quick and painless, and I was able to access my trial account within a matter of seconds. Plans are paid on either a month-to-month or annual basis; longer-term contracts are neither offered nor required. Users can save 10% off the cost of any ProofHub subscription by paying for an annual plan. There is also a 20% discount provided to nonprofit organizations (with an additional 10% off added for annual payments).

Plans may be upgraded, downgraded, or canceled at any point in time. However, ProofHub does not prorate for partial months, so should you cancel your plan after your subscription has been paid, you will still be required to pay the full price for that month. ProofHub accepts payment in the form of major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, or American Express) and PayPal. They also accept payments via bank wire.

Ease of Use:

Upon your initial login, ProofHub provides a handy succession of first steps which allow you to quickly get the hang of the basic use of their product. It is one of the better initial tutorials I have used recently and works well to jumpstart your experience.

See that first project in my box? It is a pre-built project, automatically assigned and designed to help me learn and explore my new program. I love things like this: anything that helps me rapidly come to terms with a complex new application is an absolute win in my book. It’s little touches like this that make so much sense to include for first-time users; relatively few companies do it, so kudos to ProofHub.

Note also the “+ Add” button in the upper left corner. This is another of the features I wish every project management application would use. It is an easy way to quickly create new projects without having to click through several screens. You can also click here to build new time-saving templates for future projects as well. Very nice!

I would have to say that ProofHub is one of the top ten project management software programs I have tested when it comes to the learning curve. The tutorials are slick and the interface is welcoming, well organized, and smartly designed. As a user, I felt like I could pick this new tool up in a day or less, and that is about the highest praise I can think to give.

Customer Service and Support:

ProofHub provides an excellent customer support network, characterized by the following tools and services:

  • Direct Support: For direct customer service, you can use the live chat option found on the ProofHub website, email support@proofhub.com, or fill out a support request form (found here). I tried out the live chat option and was pleased with the speed and quality of response, but I think all three options yield roughly the same results. Be aware that when filling out a request form, you are required to provide a name, email address, and detailed description of the problem or question. To facilitate better communication, you can also opt to leave a phone number and/or include the URL of your account.
  • Help Page: On this page, you can find both an FAQ section and a variety of support articles on nearly every feature of ProofHub, conveniently arranged by topic. For the most part, I found the articles – all of which are accompanied by one or more relevant screenshots – practical and helpful.
  • Video Tutorials: ProofHub provides a variety of short videos, which are, for the most part, compelling and practical. I personally tend to use videos to learn new software, and these are an effective example. These videos can also be accessed through ProofHub’s extensive YouTube channel, which might be a bit easier to navigate than their website.
  • Blog: The ProofHub blog is a good place to look for software updates/additions, user tips, and best practices.
  • Updates: If you’re wondering about new features in development or simply want to view a quick list of functions that have been added to the software over the last few months, check out the updates page.
  • Social Media Engagement: ProofHub is not particularly focused on their Facebook page, at the moment, and it isn’t a great place to go for information. However, the ProofHub Twitter feed is slightly more relevant and certainly updated with more frequency. Customers can tweet simple questions (though they are sometimes redirected back to the official support forum) and also get access to the usual articles, press releases, updates, service interruption announcements, etc.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

For the most part, users are happy with ProofHub and have no complaints about customer service or the way the software actually functions. The majority of negative comments and unfavorable feedback about this software are concerned with the following absent features:

  • No Budgeting Features
  • Limited Risk-Tracking Features
  • Limited Resource Management Features

One of my big concerns with ProofHub is the lack of emphasis on communication features. After spending some time with the program, I could not easily identify the chat function or get myself there with ease. I believe that team communication is key to success, and the fact that group chat is not immediately obvious concerns me. This might not be a deal breaker if you have all team members in one location, but if some or all of your team is mobile, this could be a huge drawback.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

ProofHub users are most enthusiastic about these qualities:

  • User-Friendliness: ProofHub has little-to-no learning curve. Some users may have to take twenty minutes or so to learn their way around the software, but as a rule, people find it extremely easy to navigate.
  • Versatile Features: With extras like time-tracking, proofing, along with a host of communication tools – ProofHub functions at a much higher level than a generic task management program.
  • Personalizable: Users are happy that they can significantly alter the look and feel of ProofHub and tailor it to their own specifications.
  • Speed: Almost every customer review I encountered mentioned ProofHub’s speed and reliability. I, also, was favorably impressed during my trial run by how quickly information was saved and how swiftly I could navigate from one section to another.
  • Flexible Pricing Options: ProofHub offers a diverse range of plans for every sized business.
  • Multitasking: This software makes it feasible – and even simple – to manage several projects at one time.
  • Organizational Components: ProofHub provides many excellent organizational tools and has helped more than one user increase productivity by eliminating confusion and reducing wasted effort.

Here are some excerpts from the reviews of satisfied ProofHub customers:

“Great product and great service! We are new to ProofHub and loving it. The team is always very helpful and gets back to us quickly whenever we have questions. Thanks for the great product and service!”

“Great tool for saving time on project management, automate tasks, communicate with team members, clients and track time.”

“TIME SAVER! As a brand new user, I’m enjoying how easy it is to collaborate with my colleagues without having to send dozens of emails back and forth. Everyone is able to view the suggestions and changes as they happen to each file we proof together. An excellent investment as it saves all of us time and energy.”

Features:

While not as feature-rich as certain other programs, ProofHub provides an impressive range of project management necessities, including:

  • Projects: The ProofHub projects feature is used for anything “from building a new app, to serving your client, to organizing a trip or an event.” For oft-repeated work, users have the option to copy entire projects, and all of the task lists, discussions, to-do’s, calendar, notes, files, and time entries. Each project is assigned its own overview page which updates in real time and provides relevant information about new tasks and recently added milestones and time sheets. This overview page also gives you the opportunity to track milestones/tasks that are currently overdue or incomplete. Each ProofHub plan allows for a limited number of active projects; if you are nearing your project allotment, it’s a good idea to archive the less urgent or completed projects. Archived projects are saved in their entirety but cannot be edited or changed. They can, however, be restored to active status at any point in time.
  • Tasks: In ProofHub, while tasks can stand-alone, they are usually grouped into various task/to-do lists. Depending on how you plan to use the software, you could use anything from general project requirement lists to lists of bugs or customer complaints; each type of list is given a start and end date and accorded either public or private status. Both lists and individual tasks may be organized (via drag-and-drop) within your workspace in order of priority. These priorities are reflected in the Gantt chart of the associated project. For better organization within lists, each task can be color-coded to provide additional context and make the sorting and filtering process a whole lot simpler. Every task is also given its own status label (such as ‘approved,’ ‘on-hold,’ or ‘pending feedback’) to help track overall project progress. A special, automatically-updated status bar found under each t0-do list tracks the status of each task and shows you exactly how much work is left to be completed. If you end up needing to export specific data from your account, you may download entire task lists to CSV format.
  • Subtasks: Subtasks are given special treatment in ProofHub, and – like tasks, task-lists, and to-dos – have their own assignees, due dates, and comment threads. In fact, subtasks function so much like independent tasks that even if you mark a parent task as completed, the subtasks within will not be considered finished (the reverse is also true: completing a subtask does not change the status of the parent task). Regular tasks are easily converted into subtasks (and vice versa), and subtasks may be moved around from one parent task to another by dragging-and-dropping.
  • Board View: Board View is ProofHub’s version of the newest trend in project management software.This is basically a program that tries to replicate the system of whiteboards and sticky notes that basically comprised project management before software took over. Similar visually to Trello, board view in ProofHub does the job well and could be just the thing you need if you work in an Agile environment or are considering converting to one. Board view is now available to all users!
  • Reports: There are several types of reporting tools available for project owners and admins in ProofHub. For example, each project has its own Roadmap report which shows what percentage of the project has been completed and informs users of all late or upcoming milestones. The Project Progress report is a handy list of all project milestones/checkpoints and their current status. ProofHub’s Burn-Up chart helps to track completed work vs. total work in two separate lines, letting you know quickly “if the project is not yet complete because work is being done slowly, or if too much new work is being added.” The Progress by Labels report provides statistics based on the completion status of tasks, while the Progress by People report provides a statistical analysis of the completion status of project members. Finally, Timesheet reports offer a view of all the hours that have been logged, along with details about the people who recorded those hours. All reports are easily exported into pdf format.
  • Time-Tracking: Since our last review of ProofHub, they have added a timer feature, located on the top right of the UI. You can click here to track general time or use the timers specific to each task if you need more specificity on your time sheets. If need be, you can also enter time manually.
  • Calendar: ProofHub provides both project calendars and stand-alone calendars. Project calendars show only the tasks, task lists, and milestones that are associated with the project. The personal, stand-alone calendar, (also known as the Overall Calendar), shows due dates for a user’s work across all projects. If you like, you can also view the personal calendars of other users to ascertain their availability and see what they are working on. You can add milestones and tasks directly to either type of calendar by clicking on a date.
  • Gantts: To begin with, ProofHub’s Gantt charts are generated from project tasks, task lists, and to-do lists. Once a chart has been created, however, tasks and other work items may be added directly from the Gantt view. Each list and task is labeled by assignee and represented on the Gantt chart by a line with a start and end date. Individual tasks are also accompanied by a green bar that indicates the % of completion. Conveniently, tasks (and lists) on the Gantt may be quickly edited by hovering a mouse over the item in question and choosing the “edit” option. By linking tasks together via drag-and-drop, users can assign dependencies; Gantt charts automatically adjust to compensate. Using ProofHub Gantt charts, you can also get a comprehensive view of each project’s critical path and see which tasks are currently impeding or affecting the project end date.
  • Discussions: Discussion threads can be marked as private or made public to everyone on a project. When a new discussion is created, the creator chooses which other users will be granted access. These users receive email notifications informing them that they have been tagged in a discussion thread and then continue to receive notifications each time new comments are added to that thread. Recently commented-on threads are displayed for easy reference at the top of the ProofHub discussion section. Documents and other files can be attached to any discussion thread from a computer hard drive, Dropbox, or Google Drive account.
  • Chat: Located in the lower right corner of the UI, you will find a little speech bubble that represents ProofHub’s chat feature. This is basically like a google chat and can support conversations between two people, or larger groups.
  • Custom Roles: There are three predefined user roles in ProofHub: owner, admin, and normal user. However, account owners have the ability to create custom roles (and to permit other users to create custom roles). Roles, in turn, can be further defined by access level. View-only access allows users to see what is going on in a task/project/file but doesn’t enable them to add, edit or manage the work items. View-and-add access lets users view, add, and edit things in a particular section, while view-and-manage access gives a user full rights to add, edit, and delete work items. Access levels can be customized for each project, discussion, Gantt chart, task, calendar, note, file, timesheet, and so forth. The ability to create custom roles and access levels is only available on the Enterprise plan. If you have a Nano or Standard plan and wish to try out the custom roles feature, you can request a 14-day free trial.
  • File Proofing: The file proofing feature is what really sets ProofHub apart from its other competitors. Any file within your account can be proofed with this unique tool which allows you to make comments and draw over or highlight areas which need adjustment. Amazingly, when viewed within the proofing tool, images and pictures appear in high resolution “so viewers do not even have to open the file with a different image software.” Each time a file is edited and a new proof is created, everyone involved receives a special notification containing a link to the proof, the proof name, and other relevant details.

 Integrations and Add-Ons:

ProofHub offers the following integrations:

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • iCal
  • Freshbooks
  • Box
  • OneDrive

I contacted ProofHub, asking about current and future integrations, and was told they are currently working on the following additions to that list:

  • Slack
  • Zapier
  • Quickbooks

ProofHub also provides an API, for those of you brave enough to program your own 3rd-party apps, that was recently updated. More information about the ProofHub API can be found here.

Security:

ProofHub takes the following precautions to protect user data and privacy:

  • Daily Backups: All user data is immediately written to multiple disks and backed up daily to more than one location.
  • Secure Encryption: ProofHub’s servers are guarded by industry standard SSL encryption.
  • IP Address Restriction: Account owners are encouraged to set specific IP restrictions so that other users on the account may only access data found within the configured IP range.

To read more about ProofHub’s security procedures, click here.

Final Verdict:

I’m a big fan of ProofHub, not only for inventive tools like file proofing but for the generally excellent design of its more standard, everyday project management features. ProofHub functions at a very high level (for a remarkably low price) and backs up its product with solid customer support. Project management software doesn’t get much better than that.

I must confess I am disappointed by ProofHub’s current dearth of integrations and lack of a native iOS, though happily, the company is working on solutions for both of those problems. This has been a problem since our original review, however, and it seems as though change, in this case, is slow in coming. Fortunately, our other main criticism of ProofHub, the lack of time tracking, has been addressed brilliantly.

That said, in general, I highly recommend ProofHub. It is straightforward, well-made software which provides basic essentials of project management with aplomb. In the end, unexpected perks – like file proofing and a refreshingly accessible pricing system – simply add to ProofHub’s already long list of positive attributes.

Wesley Kriz

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.
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