Shorthand – A Critique

Before we critique tools let’s head into my kitchen and backyard to see where popsicles get created and ultimately destroyed, with pleasure.

Shorthand Recipe and Story: Coconut Berry Popsicles

I gave another cloud based tool a try this past week. Shorthand is a cool immersive visual storytelling editing tool that gives you a great place to showcase pictures and use text to convey a story. I wanted to showcase and impart my popsicle knowledge onto the world, with summer in full swing we all need a sweet cool treat and how I learned the hard way on how to make popsicles. I also made a little podcast that is an  accessible feature for the story and I thought it would be an easy media to insert in the Shorthand page, but I was mistaken.

Shorthand and Free Trials

I have gone through as many free trials as one could imagine. I use another tool every week to see if it is “worth it.” I thought it was only appropriate to showcase my cooking and recipes with free another free trail since my baking has funded my software habit. Of all the trials, I ended up splurging on the following: Canva business account, Adobe Captivate, and now the Adobe Creative Suite. Shorthand was really cool but I’m not ready to take subscribe my next “birthday cake paycheck” to this program.  

  1. Cost: Depending on your needs there are different levels, ranging from two payments of $30 for 4 months, to the fancy 1,000/year plan. Some of the pricing is a little confusing and they ask you to send a email with a question to the Shorthand customer service powers. I applied for the student pricing Friday or Saturday (June 13 and 14) and have yet to get a reply and I am pretty sure I filled out the wrong form.
  2. License: usually a year long, or less depending on the plan , again you have email them directly for specific details, there is a lot left to customer service emails.
  3. Accessibility: I looked at the accessibility for both user and creator. As a user in a trial version, it is slim accessibility options, mainly just text over images. There was about 2 times when the site shutdown for updates. Before one of the updates I was allowed to link content from different forums on the Shorthand page/slideshow/story, I created a SoundCloud podcast of to use on the site and linked it on the page. After the update, and I was locked out for 2-6 hours, I was no longer able to link the podcast and it was deleted from the story. This proved to be frustrating and a very non-accessible way to have different forms of media for different types of learners.
  4. User Data: This is something that bothers me about companies and bothers me about our governmental system, we have very few laws or really none in place that protect our data being sold on application or devices. Like most companies that sell a users data there is very vague language around their data mining. They outline their policies on their website and invite inquiry but I am wary of all companies like this.

Upon due consideration, we may share information with third parties where we have a legal obligation to do so under applicable laws and regulations.

Shorthand Privacy Policy

5. Utility for Digital Storytelling: This is a really cool tool and I would urge you to try it out and form your own opinion. I personally probably wouldn’t reuse this tool for any projects I have on the horizon. I think that there should be a little more ease in the understanding of different memberships function before making the commitment of paying for a trail. I also didn’t like the lack of ability to make it your own, I wish I had a little more agency around how I wanted to create. Since it is a fairly intuitive tool, it’s not hard to actually do things you are willing to do, it is hard to get questions answered and will require you to check your email.

I would say all in all, Shorthand was an experience but not necessarily the experience I would like to relive.

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