Likelihood to Recommend
MadCap Flare has its problems, but it serves our team well as an authoring software. This would not be the case if we needed to regularly collaborate on articles, as Flare is prone to conflict issues when another person dares to breathe near an open topic. When working individually, though, it's fine. I'd love to see improvements to design, performance, and stability, but Flare remains one of the best softwares on the market for our needs as an authoring team. MadCap Central is well-suited to internal reviewing when every member is comfortable with Flare (the errors it tends to introduce set aside). SMEs, though, tend to find it hard to use. It's cluttered, some styles don't render, and it just seems like a failed attempt to reproduce Google Docs. I'd love to see improvements there, to help get our SMEs to
want to use Central. Read full review
Shorthand is ideally suited to visual stories where you have a good number of images and/or embeds or video to include. It is well-suited to long-form stories, where you wish to keep the readers' attention longer than usual. It can help to differentiate particularly important or intriguing stories from others on your website - and for this reason, it could be used as a premium content tool, perhaps for subscribers. It can also be used to showcase stories about awards you've organised, giving them special treatment. It is less suited to breaking news, or very time-sensitive news stories, as it can take some time to prepare, post or update shorthand stories. And it doesn't work well for stories with strong accompanying imagery
Read full review Pros Snippets, variables, and conditioning are all good Once you set it up, updating Help websites is easy. Read full review Enabling visual storytelling with multiple pictures Embedding rich media within a story, including video Engaging readers for longer than average dwell times Making it easy to create striking article design without coding experience Read full review Cons The software is often quite buggy, and certain bugs seem to date back nearly a decade and still persist. Customizing shortcuts is often an ordeal. Read full review Additional flexibility in how text is overlaid on pictures would be welcome so that there are more choices on what images to use with particular layouts Enabling users to control the path of text - for example, enabling runaround - could enable some excellent designs Adding additional section templates could speed up design More flexibility in caption placement would be helpful Read full review Usability
MadCap Flare is in desperate need of an overall redesign. It relies heavily on dozens and dozens of tiny buttons that contain dozens of nested features. Clicking the wrong button can cause your software to freeze and crash. Building targets can be an absolute mystery, as far as all the files involved. It also has a tendency to freeze and crash. There's typically a huge learning curve for new hires who've never used it--nothing is intuitive.
Read full review Reliability and Availability
I have never known it to be down during my use of it. All you require is an internet connection to log in and you can use it on multiple devices. Adding ease of accessibility, there are simple ways to log in. I've also never known a Shorthand story to go down once live on our site.
Read full review Performance
Due to the integration with our content management software, there is a short delay on our site while it loads, which may cause some readers to drift away. However, I've seen other sites where it instantly loads articles, so I believe this to be down to the content management software behind our site more than Shorthand itself. Once that brief initial period is over, it doesn't require additional loading time.
Read full review Alternatives Considered
I wish Google Docs would work for our purposes, but it doesn't have a lot of the technical writing features we need. Using Google Docs would make reviewing and edits much much quicker, but we need MadCap to house all our documents for our Help website.
Read full review Scalability
As a web-based service, it is easy for users to log into from anywhere. Content can easily be shared, as you can set up teams that enable access to each other's work as required. And content can be reviewed by others before publication using the sharing function. You can also view how an article will look on different devices.
Read full review Return on Investment Saves time by offering a way to sync documents with other teammates. Often requires time to troubleshoot random errors or bugs that pop up with seemingly no cause. Read full review Helped us create one of our top 10 most-read and most-shared stories in the last year Enabled us to elevate key pieces of content, boosting dwell time on our site But can also be time-consuming to adopt for some stories, meaning you need to choose well what stories really deserve the investment in time Boosted collaboration between teams via its ability to share, including offering the chance for others to preview content prior to publication Read full review ScreenShots MadCap Software Screenshots