The time for changes is over when files are sent to print

I don’t do a ton of print design anymore, but one thing I’ve noticed is that often clients have a misunderstanding of what “proofs” are for, or how the workflow should work.

The short: When files are sent to print, the time for changes is over. The overall purpose of printed proofs is to catch printing errors.

The purpose of a “proof” is to spot issues like low resolution images or other potential printing errors. Catching typos at this stage, although they really should have been spotted sooner, is acceptable. Anything else that’s flat-out wrong is usually also acceptable to change. Some examples might be:

  • Wrong name cited
  • Credits/disclaimer incorrect or missing
  • Content being trimmed or position of folds miscalculated

What shouldn’t be open for discussion:

  • Copy change (short of typos, grammatical errors…)
  • Messaging – If you wrote “Buy one, Get one free!” it’s not time to change your mind and say “Buy one, Get one 50%” – all “mind changing” should occur before files are sent to print.
  • Swapping photos/artwork. If the wrong image was used (eg a FPO was not replaced) or if the image show it will not print well, then those items could be swapped.

What are the drawbacks of making excessive changes to the proofs?

  • It will delay the process more than if the changes were made during internal proofing (ie printing black & white samples for review.)
  • The cost increases. Most printers will charge for additional proofs.
  • Printers go through a fair amount of prep before those proofs are printed. They have to repeat those steps, and if they’re making changes along the way it can complicate the process, increasing the chance something gets missed.
  • Printers will likely give you less leeway next time. Rather than telling you they need five business days before delivery, they may tell you they need 10. And if you deliver files eight days out, they may tell you they will not meet your delivery deadline. Whereas if you show that you did you work upfront, and that their process will be efficient, they will allow you to give them less time.
  • As much as printers should have their process together, having to deal with multiple proofs can lead to mistakes. I’ve seen it happen where the wrong version of the proof gets printed.

How to add multiple destinations (or stops) in “new” Google maps

Since May, Google has been publicly testing a major update to the Google Maps user interface for desktop web browsers. In early October, they released it to the masses. Many of the features have moved from easy to discover buttons, icons and labels, and instead buried more deeply into less obvious locations.

One feature that is now not as immediately apparent, is the ability to add multiple destinations or stops when mapping directions. This feature was missing for a while in the new version, which has probably contributed to its lack of discoverability.

To complicate issues, the instructions on how to add multiple destinations to your route, isn’t very clear. For example, the help documentation states:

Add destinations and waypoints

To add a destination in your directions search, click the button in the infocard. This will create a new text box to add your additional destination. Add the location of your destination by typing or left-clicking on the map. To add more, click again.

However, that doesn’t actually work. As a test, I ran a search to get directions from Seattle to San Francisco. As you can see below, there isn’t a “+” button in the infocard.  Continue reading

How to Remove Yourself From a Google Beta or A/B Test

Recently I went to do a search using Google and found that the interface had between tweaked in a few ways that made it difficult to use. I did some searching and found that the tweaks were indeed tests being run by Google. On the Google Product Forums, I found a lot of ranting. I also found a Google employee post instructions on how to get out of the test base.

Unfortunately, it’s not fool-proof. It impacts a lot of other sites and your browser usage. It’s not a vote that you don’t like it – you need to track down a thread for the specific issue and post your feedback.

The answer? Clear your cookies. This will log you out of Google services as well as any other service you’re logged into, so you will need to log back in when you’re done. Google has a page with instructions on how to clear all your cache & cookies.

But what if you don’t want to have to log back into all of your sites? Well, if you’re using Chrome, there’s another way. Continue reading

One Way Google’s Android is More Closed to Consumers than Apple’s iOS

Developing for smartphones has shown some interesting differences between Android and iOS – beyond the obvious. Android is touted as being “open”, but in reality while the source code is “open”, consumer access system updates is vastly more closed than iOS.

Let’s take the tweakers, modders… and other enthusiasts out of the picture for the moment, as they aren’t the majority of consumers. When Apple releases a new version of iOS, it’s available to all, regardless of carrier. For example, iOS 6 was announced on September 12 and then released to the public on September 19, 2012. iPhone owners did not have to wait for their carrier to remove features, block functionality or install junkware. The OS update was available to all with supporting hardware.

Continue reading

Tips for Using SVG in Mobile Websites

A few months ago I designed and helped build a mobile website. A goal of mine was to create a fast loading, resolution independent interface. SVG has been around for over 10 years, but using it is still quirky. For example, Google decided to save 1MB by excluding SVG support from Gingerbread, and that has proven to be a painful decision for mobile developers.

While there are more complicated workarounds, I tried to make things as simple as possible. Here’s a couple tips I learned that I didn’t find elsewhere.

Scale down background images. Although you can set a SVG image multiple ways, if you set it as a background image, the default android browser will not properly upscale the images. So make them large in your SVG file, and shrink them down in the UI. Fortunately, increasing the size of the image(s) does not increase the file size.

Some have suggested changing the SVG files internal dimensions from px to a realtive value such as ems. However, in my tests this doesn’t help with the default browser in Android, even in Jelly Bean. Continue reading