November 29, 2005 / Winter 2005

Stop Chasing Airplanes

Written by Idea File Staff

BARRY JOHNSON KNOWS YEARBOOK CONNECT MAKES LIFE EASIER FOR A YEARBOOK STAFF. HE EXPERIENCED THE PROOF FIRST-HAND.

Johnson, the yearbook adviser of the Aeneid at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C., remembers the days before his school began using Yearbook Connect, Walsworth’s online page submission and proofing service.

“Like everybody else, we’re typically right down to the wire getting things done at deadline. I was usually here at 5, 6, 7 p.m. still doing final troubleshooting,” Johnson said. “Then I’d be trying to make it to the airport in Charlotte trying to catch the FedEx plane so our shipment of page spreads would make it in time.”

Johnson found the solution to that tiresome late-night situation during the 2003-04 school year. The solution was Yearbook Connect.

“(Yearbook Connect) made it so much easier at deadline time,” Johnson said. “I could start the transmission process in the evening, then go home for the night. If the transmission took three to five hours to upload 50 or 60 pages, then I can just go home for the night. I wasn’t driving two hours back and forth to the airport.”

MAKING THE PROCESS SIMPLER
Deadlines are a stressful time for any yearbook staff. Yearbook Connect, which users access through the Members Only section at walsworthyearbooks.com, alleviates some of that stress.

Yearbook Connect consists of four primary elements, all of them using the power of the internet: Cover Connect, which allows users to download a soft proof PDF of their cover; Page Connect, which allows users to upload pages to Walsworth electronically; eZProof Connect, which lets customers download proofs from Walsworth and then send back corrected files; and Image Connect, where users send Walsworth photos, they are scanned in professionally, and then downloaded by staffs for use at school.

Alex Blackwell, director of Desktop Technology for Walsworth, said each facet of Yearbook Connect offers a specific benefit. The service fits perfectly into Walsworth’s theme of keeping things simple.

“Schools on Yearbook Connect don’t have to worry anymore about shipping us their files. They simply upload and download files through the internet,” said Blackwell. “It’s a more convenient way to do business for them and for us.”

Carolyn Henderson, a Walsworth yearbook representative based in North Carolina, said many schools deal with similar situations to the one Johnson used to encounter. By cutting back on the reliance of mail services, their time is freed up on deadline for other concerns.

“It’s a really nice tool for schools in rural areas, or locations where they don’t have regular access to FedEx,” Henderson said. “For some of these schools to get delivery from FedEx, they have to call at least a day in advance and arrange for delivery. It’s very inconvenient.”

NEW AND IMPROVED
As Yearbook Connect works through its second year as part of the Walsworth desktop technology product suite, Blackwell said customers are working with an improved system. Several enhancements were added for the 2004-05 school year.

For example, Yearbook Connect customers now receive an automatic confirmation email each time they submit a page, letting them know Walsworth received their upload. A year ago, that was not the case. In addition, several improvements were made to the online forms that customers use as they navigate through the site.

“We’ve taken the frustrations and hiccups from the first year, transformed them and made the program even better,” said Blackwell. “The system is much easier for the customer to use.”

Good thing, because users like Johnson continue to love life using Yearbook Connect.

“I give it nothing but high marks,” said Johnson. “Having that last-minute capability at deadline time has been enormously helpful.”

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.