Learning to learn

Learning to learn

5 minute read

We plan big changes. Here’s the low-down…

Astute Graphics is constantly evolving and improving its subscription to all customers. Not only are we adding new plugins, tools and functions at an astonishing rate, but we're also looking at every part of the supporting material.

Key to getting the most out of our plugins and ensuring the annual subscription pays for itself in three days, is the ability to quickly learn the software and make it work the way you want. Training and learning material is key to this.

Traditionally, Astute Graphics has published feature-focused videos on YouTube. However, we recognize the need to improve and are embarking on a major investment to enhance our learning in these key areas:

  • Written, online documentation to better cater for international users and quick reference

  • Workflow videos demonstrating the collection of tools in a realistic, creative workflow

  • Optimized, shorter function videos which are sub-titled

  • Comparing Astute Graphics tools with traditional, native workflows

  • Super-short "hint & tip" videos

  • Quicker access to learning material

I want to discuss each of these in more detail...

Written material

The need for written material is driven by the knowledge that Astute Graphics exports 90% of its subscriptions globally. We appreciate that English is not the first language for many customers. Having written material to follow-along to, will prove beneficial.

Creating a full written library for the 100's of tools and functions that already exist is going to be a Herculean task that is expected to take the best part of a full year. We've made a start with our latest release, Reform, which is fully documented. However, aligned with the new material, we will be developing a full documentation "library" section to ensure easy search and location of specific function details.

Workflow videos

Creative users don't use tools and functions in isolation. Instead, we "flow" through Illustrator using a combination of native tools boosted by the power in Astute Graphics' plugins.

As you can see from this new video by Jack Royle, we are starting to source content from true design professionals to demonstrate the tools being used in a realistic and natural manner to produce results which are within reach of all users.

We plan to continue with the production of these new videos using a selection of professionals.

Optimized function videos

We will continue to produce in-house videos demonstrating specific tools and functions. To enhance these further, we are now planning, editing and refining these productions so that they are concise, to-the-point and sub-titled (again, to better cater for international clients).

You can see from this key training video, released along with Reform, that it's possible to understand all key parts of the tool in only a few minutes! We are currently looking to bring this improved format across to established tools and plugins.

Comparisons to native tools

Our customers buy a subscription to work faster and more creatively. It's as simple as that. Therefore, we are embarking on a new series of videos that will better demonstrate the advantages of the Astute Graphics tools compared to native Illustrator tools and workflows.

This brand-new video by Dave Watkins shows the advantages of the AG Offset tool compared to the native offset methods, based on clear and real-world examples. Learn where the time gets saved and how you can become more creative with Astute Graphics.

Short tips

For the past few months, we've been very active on our Instagram account and shaken things up! Nearly every day, we've been providing 1-minute demonstrations of specific tools or functions based on great artwork.

Not discovered these yet? Simply open any of the 100+ posts on our channel and swipe across to watch the short video and learn what can be achieved!

Quicker access

Earlier in 2021, the Astute Graphics' website search engine received a significant upgrade, allowing support content to be found super-fast. This ability to pinpoint an answer will be transferring over to our new written material.

We also plan to completely refresh our established YouTube channel. Ensuring you can discover the power of the plugins through videos in seconds, and with a clearer structure. To match this, development of Astute Manager v3 is racing ahead, which will not only bring improvements in the underlying technology, but also a new user interface and experience to assist with finding the answers where you want and how you want.

To aid access, for all material (training, support and marketing), we plan to phase out references to plugin names and simply concentrate on the tool or function names. With the advent of the Astute Graphics subscription, it's no longer a case of having to check if you have access to any particular plugin function, as all plugins are included. This will be a longer-term process that is likely to carry on well into 2022.

Feedback

Much of these changes are based on feedback filtered through our amazing support team. We also keep an eye on external reviews, such as Trustpilot, and note all ways we can improve.

However, this is a never-ending process. So, if you have suggestions and comments about the way you prefer to learn about the plugins, please join our Slack community or drop us a line!

Nicholas van der Walle,
CEO & Founder of Astute Graphics

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