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Shorthand review – no-code publishing platform

Different websites have to accomplish different objectives. Some are for selling online while others are for storytelling. Think of storytelling as an umbrella term for anything from telling engaging stories to annual reports, case studies, and other content. It’s about increasing engagement and click-throughs.

Of course, you could use an all-purpose tool to build an engaging and immersive storytelling website. But what if you know, your project will be media-rich, needs to be interactive, and you need it fast? This is where Shorthand comes in. It’s a digital storytelling and publishing platform for creating interactive multimedia stories for your audience without you having to rely on a team of developers. It comes with collaborative tools so that you and your team can work together to create web pages and articles.

Shorthand is based in Australia and was launched in 2013. In contrast to all-purpose website builders such as Wix or Squarespace, Shorthand gives you tools and features just for visual storytelling.

Pros and cons of Shorthand

Shorthand is a no-code publishing platform with a WYSIWYG content tool so that you don’t need designers or developers to create content that your audience finds engaging. It’s cloud-based so that you access it via your browser. The stories that you create with Shorthand are single-page websites.


  • Signup without having your credit card ready but you need to subscribe to a paid account to be able to publish stories
  • You can add custom HTML, CSS, and Javascript code when you subscribed to a paid account
  • Easy to use interface
  • Collaborative tools


  • Expensive

Who is Shorthand for?

If you’re working in the marketing or communications industry, chances are that at some point in your career, you’ll want to showcase a report or a case study. Hence, Shorthand is a good place to start to create interactive stories that look nice on desktop, tablet, and mobile.

You don’t need to be a developer or a designer to use Shorthand in contrast to high quality design focused software. Say for example Photoshop or other premium Adobe programmes make beautiful designs but require an in-depth knowledge of the tool. Also, with Shorthand, the content team can work together with the design team.

How easy is Shorthand to use?

The signup process doesn’t ask for your credit card details. Since it’s a collaborative tool, you’re creating a workspace that you and your colleagues can access to work together.

Your workspace shows you all your stories or stories shared with you

To give you inspiration on how your story can look and help you shorten the creation process, Shorthand comes with a range of templates. Of course, you can also start from scratch.

The projects that you can create with Shorthand are single-page websites. They can be as long as you want, that is you can add as many sections as you like on a page. You get a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor to add your content. If you’ve worked with MS Word, then you know your way around.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use. So, if you’ve got your assets (images and videos) – Shorthand calls them media – ready, you can create an interactive story without a designer and hassle-free.

Shorthand design and themes

The predesigned templates are all mobile-ready so that your project looks good on different screen sizes – desktop, tablet, and mobile phone. You get templates for editorials, tips and tricks, plans, press releases, and more.

Shorthand templates are mobile-ready

How to manage your ecommerce store in Shorthand?

Shorthand focuses on giving you tools to create websites that only have the task to tell a story. Not more. Hence, selling online and managing a store is out of scope.

Shorthand integrations

Once you’ve subscribed to a paid plan, you can use custom HTML & embedding and custom Javascript. This allows you to insert the necessary codes of any service that gives you embeddable code.

What marketing and SEO tools does Shorthand have?

You can only create one-pagers with Shorthand. This means it’s not meant to be used for sites that are dynamic or very dependent on a database. This in turn means it’s not meant to be used for blogs, news sites, or online stores.


You can add metadata such as meta title and meta description in the story settings to optimise your one-pager story for search engines.

Add your meta title and meta description in the settings of your story

Shorthand security

If you use Shorthand’s hosting, then it will take care of maintenance and security. All stories so published are secured with an SSL certificate. You also get the option to publish a story by embedding it on any web page. Then, it’s the responsibility of those who run the web page to take care of security and maintenance.

Shorthand customer support

Shorthand has a very intuitive interface. Still, at times you can get stuck, and then you can either query the searchable knowledge base or contact the support team via email.


If you visit Shorthand to get the pricing, you’ll see for one that it doesn’t publish its prices and secondly, that it has a confusing pricing structure with many add-ons. That Shorthand doesn’t show its prices tells you that it comes with a hefty price tag.

Is Shorthand the right tool for you?

Shorthand is not only handy for teams working in marketing and communications. It also comes in handy if you’re a journalist, working in an NGO, or a researcher and want to share your story. But it’s not the tool for you to freely design the user experience and interactivity.

Just know that it doesn’t come cheap, so it’s more for teams that have the content budget and also the need to create many articles and stories. Of course, you can do the same with the plain old trusty PDF, but if you want to move away from and make your content interactive, take a look at Shorthand. Or consider using a more versatile tool such as Vev or another one-pager builder such as Carrd.

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