In my earlier life as a typesetter/graphic production artist, I had the good fortune of working with others who regularly checked my work. This made it easy for me to concentrate on how a piece of literature needed to look and function, without necessarily having all the words exactly perfect.
That being said, however, I’ve never been one who’s able to simply take input given to me and just put it on the page. There’s something that makes me want to comprehend it, to make sure it makes sense to the reader, to fix all grammatical and punctuation errors — to improve it in any way possible.
Some say it’s a control issue; I just think of it as trying to make the experience for the user as rewarding as possible. If the text is a subject that’s unfamiliar to me, I like to ensure that the reader can comprehend it and find it useful, both textually, graphically and aesthetically.
I’ve always worked at small companies where I’ve had lots of different responsibilities. My role here at adWhite is like that, requiring me to wear a lot of different hats, figuratively speaking. Ironically, I don’t like wearing real, physical hats at all; I’m not sure what the connection is there. As a project manager, I coordinate projects for our web developers; I communicate with clients and account managers, making sure we have all the elements and input needed for online projects. With all the pieces of information required to make a website work, that can be a challenging exercise by itself.
When our clients need graphic design, I fill that role, designing print materials and interacting with print vendors. By the way, print isn’t dead. Although our client services are leaning more and more toward online marketing, print projects will probably never completely go away. Companies will always need logos and business cards, signs and banners, flyers and brochures.
What does all this have to do with proofreading? It’s all connected by the information we’re trying to get to the reader. If a website domain — or any of the other myriad connections that must be made in order to make a site work — is incorrect, it won’t load. If the phone number on a business card is wrong, it has to be reprinted. Those situations can be avoided by carefully comparing the input to the output and making sure everything is correct. Fortunately, online errors are easier to fix than printed mistakes. It’s much easier to fix a typo on a blog and instantly republish it, compared to correcting a phone number and reprinting 500 expensive, glossy brochures.
My expanded role has made me appreciate the excellent proofreaders I’ve worked with in the past. Proofreading isn’t easy. It requires a lot of concentration and dedication to the project, not only making sure the information is technically and grammatically correct, but also presented in a way that’s helpful and useful to the reader. Spell-check is great, but it doesn’t catch everything. Nothing can take the place of a human who takes the time to read and comprehend words and make sure factual data is correct. You don’t want your project to end up on this page!
And proofreading isn’t just for websites or graphic-design work. Everyone can benefit from taking an extra look at emails, invoices, text messages, social posts, blogs — anything that has words — before hitting the SEND button. Make sure to proofread it first. Or, better yet, have someone else proof it for you. After you’ve been staring at it for a while, a fresh set of eyes can find things you’ve missed. Here are a few tips to make the proofreading process easier.