Behind PrintShop Mail Connect

PrintShop Mail already was the easiest to use Variable Data Communications tool around. That’s what it’s best known for. So, when starting to work on a new concept that will allow for a single designer to create both commercial and transactional communications, PrintShop Mail was used as the benchmark for development. Today, PlanetPress and PReS users benefit from an easy to use designer for the creation of transactional communications inspired by this entry level solution. Behind this move toward simplicity were Erik and Floris. They brought their extensive knowledge of PrintShop Mail to this massive project and I had the time to pick their brains before the release of PrintShop Mail Connect.

When updating PrintShop Mail, how did you decide what to improve on?

PrintShop Mail and the technology reached the limits of what could be done. For long, there has not been any significant request for new functionalities. So, when a plan was created to recreate our entire product portfolio, we took the opportunity to take what makes PrintShop Mail great – a comprehensive easy to use VDP tool –  and see if we could improve upon that.

PrintShop Mail Connect isn’t too far from PrintShop Mail even with the rebuild. We wanted to keep personalization at the core of this product while giving users a gateway to digital. The idea was to achieve all this with elegance.

We’ll let the users be the judge but I think we were successful.

What kind of improvements will existing users see from this rebuild?

The main difference will be the designer. The designer has a Microsoft Word feel to it that makes the learning curve quite low. We wanted to build something that would be natural to new users but also still quite familiar for existing ones. To read more about the designer, read another interview with Erik.

Another big thing is the use of wizards and templates. This is where we tried the simplicity aspect. We wanted users to be able to quickly design the documents they want without too much learning and these guides were the perfect vehicle.

To learn more about PrintShop Mail improvements, see this article.

What are the new features of PrintShop Mail that make you the happiest?

Next to improving on ease of use, the new technology base also allows adding some creative features that we think will make life better. Those new things include:

  • Integration of external content allows customers to create their communications content in any CMS, from WordPress to SharePoint
  • Advance features are also simple to use, for example instead of scripting variable images, now you can use dialogs
  • On demand output and finishing decisions for flexibility of production
  • Option of using AFP/IPDS for secure printing

What do you think makes PrintShop Mail Connect stand out?

Unlike the many plug-ins to expensive design software, PrintShop Mail Connect is a standalone application that allows composition much like any word processor. And with the added functionality of digital output, PrintShop Mail is the only software on the market that designs for both print and digital without reverse engineering print.

If you have any suggestions for how to make PrintShop Mail even better, send a request to our R&D team here.