Project management apps are great for working with teams, both local and remote. They allow for easy communication and sharing of information and assets, and even allow clients to participate in conversations and stay on the same page all through their projects. However, most of these apps have thus far failed to address the need for sharing visual feedback that’s so important for creatives like designers and content developers.
ProofHub hopes to be the solution we’ve all been looking for: the new kid on the project management block offers all the features necessary for planning and executing tasks as a team, with the vital addition of an image proofing tool that allows professionals and clients to mark up images to share ideas and feedback. ProofHub is also competitively priced and features a fresh look borrowing from the current trend of flat design. But is it good enough to take on the heavyweights in this domain? Let’s use it to plan a website build and find out.
ProofHub is a project management suite suited for creative teams who need to share visual ideas, and packs in the usual bevy of collaboration features like group discussions, calendars, task lists and file storage, along with timesheets and visual proofing. The app works on all modern browsers on desktops and mobile devices, and is simple enough for anyone to use.
ProofHub has both free and paid plans, and allows you to take any of the latter for a free 30-day spin without a credit card to see if it’s right for your team. There are four plans to choose from, ranging from 1GB of space & 10 projects at $15/month, to 80GB with unlimited projects at $149/month. It’s priced similar to Basecamp (which starts at $20/month for 10 projects and 3gb), and includes SSL encryption and daily backups for your data and files.
ProofHub’s UI is clutter-free and gets out of the way to let you focus on your projects. The Overview allows you to check out upcoming tasks and milestones on your calendar at a glance, as well as comments in discussions and progress made by you and your teammates on your project. You’ll also notice a little chat tab that lets you see who else is online, so you can message them in real-time. The app looks nice enough and features minimal branding, which is great if you’re inviting clients to share ideas and files with here.
A simple alternative to email threads, which allows you to post messages, invite participants, reply to the group or to individuals, and attach files with your messages.
Add your major tasks and milestones here for everyone to see in a month-based grid. You can subscribe to or download the calendar for use with other apps or devices.
The heart of every project management app — create task lists, add tasks to them and assign responsibility to team members, set due dates for them and add comments to tasks with additional information. You can sort tasks by completion status or person responsible, manually reorder tasks and download a CSV of your lists for offline use.
A bare-bones time tracker that allows you to list how many hours you spent on tasks. Lacks a timer, daily schedule and the ability to list start/end times.
A central repository for your team’s files. Displays both detailed and thumbnail views, with previews for images and descriptive icons for other file types. This is where you can organize files into folders, proof image files, share files with anyone (including unregistered users) and discuss files by adding comments.
A basic text editor with support for formatting and real-time collaboration and commenting.
My experience with ProofHub wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped. For starters, I found that the tools on offer didn’t play very well together: you can’t link files that you’ve already uploaded into any discussions or messages; task lists can’t be associated with milestones; proofing only works on image files and can only be initiated from the Files page. Plus, any files you upload from Google Drive or Dropbox can only be accessed by logging into those services, which slows down one’s workflow considerably.
A couple of ProofHub’s features don’t really cut it: the time tracking tool is just a list that anyone could put together in a basic spreadsheet and doesn’t link to any tasks, and doesn’t allow for planning team members’ time at all. Similarly, the Notes tool doesn’t allow any kind of importing or exporting — you’ll have to create files from scratch. I’d have liked to have been able to collaborate on existing files, or at least work on a more flexible whiteboard-style tool that allowed text and drawing input on a tablet. As for proofing — you can only annotate images using a tiny set of tools; there are free web apps that allow you to do a lot more.
The user experience isn’t very smooth either. Pages reload for almost every command or action, simple operations like assigning a task to a team member take too many clicks, and there’s no support for drag-and-drop where necessary (on the calendar and files tools). While it may sound like I’m nitpicking, any project management app worth its salt should allow you to get in and get out as quickly as possible; ProofHub just takes too much time to use.
While ProofHub has some nice features and is simple enough to get used to, it lacks polish, speed and usability in general. A couple of the core features are half-baked and need to be reworked from the ground up. The only reason you might want to consider using ProofHub right now is for the free plan that allows unlimited users. If you’re looking to spend less time managing your project and getting some real work done, there are several better project management apps out there that you could check out.