My co-worker Monika occasionally swivels her chair around and shares the most common responses to her educational outreach emails. The question we field most often is a simple one: "Is it really free?" No matter how loudly or clearly we say it, educators have a hard time believing our claim that Lucidchart is 100% free. We don't blame you for being incredulous, but in this case, it's just not warranted. This post is a comprehensive look at our edu philosophy. By the end, I want all of the skeptics to know exactly why we offer free accounts to educational users, how it works, what esteemed educators have to say about their Lucidchart experience, and what our future plans are. We'd love to onboard thousands of additional users by summer's end, so consider this your first tutorial!
Is it really free, and if so, what's in it for you?
Yes, it's really free. We're proud to offer free annual accounts equipped with all of our premium features to educators, faculty members, and students. We don't ask for credit card information or any kind of monetary compensation, though we may reach out with the occasional request for a case study interview or short phone interview. These requests stem from a desire to improve the product and to spread the word about Lucidchart. Please remember that you can always say no. We promise that your service won't be affected, nor will our feelings be hurt. So why are we offering our product for free when we could probably charge a fair amount? The reason is two-fold: First, our CEO, Karl Sun, is an alumnus of both MIT and Harvard. He has a strong interest in academia and he, along with the rest of the team, believes that donating Lucidchart to schools and educators is a worthwhile investment in our future. Second, we happen to think that our product blows the competition out of the water, and we want to give everyone the opportunity to try it and love it.
How long will this offer stand?
Many educators want to know how long our free accounts will last. Truth be told, we don't know what the future holds. But this is what we promise our educational users:
- Lucidchart will remain free until at least December 31, 2015.
- If we decide to charge any fees in the future, they'll be significantly discounted from our standard business pricing.
- If we choose to start charging educational users after 12/13/15, we'll provide a 12-month notice about the changes. That way, you can decide whether to continue with our service or switch to another diagramming provider.
Is Lucidchart in this for the long haul?
Absolutely. Lucidchart is consistently ranked as one of the top productivity and educational applications in the Google Apps Marketplace, where we maintain a 5 star rating. To date, we've provided approximately 1.5 million licenses at no charge to top-tier educational institutions around the world. If you're wondering what the user experience is like, see the word cloud below. We surveyed 2500+ users to find the top words that they associate with Lucidchart. This is what they wrote -- without any prompting from us. I should also mention that Lucid Software is growing, profitable, and backed by several prominent investment firms. We're not going anywhere!
What would I use Lucidchart for?
Glad you asked! Lucidchart is a collaborative online diagramming application. If that doesn't mean anything to you, think of it this way: If you have a desire to make, share, or present any kind of visual communication, Lucidchart can make it happen. That includes high-tech projects like mobile apps, website wireframes, and UML diagrams, as well as traditional educational standbys like graphic organizers, mind maps, flow charts, and Venn diagrams. We have too many great features to fully cover here, so why not check out our Education category? We have articles covering everything from better group projects to mind maps for creative writing or getting started videos. Just move your mouse to the right and select "Education" from the drop-down categories. To see some of the cool stuff you can make with Lucidchart, click on the images below or browse our Community examples.
What do objective outsiders think of Lucidchart?
We're happy to report an overwhelmingly positive response from the educational community. Lucidchart has been praised and covered by educational luminaries like Eric Sheninger, Shelly Terrell, Amy Mayer, Lee Kolbert, Eric Curts, Andreas Johansson, and many others. Our software will also be featured on Pam Shoemaker's popular blog, Yes Tech! You may also want to check out these gushing case studies from professors at Penn State, Cal Poly, and several other schools. We're extremely grateful to our edu cheerleaders, especially those who graciously grant us space on their own websites and blogs. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking a chance on Lucidchart and spreading the word. If anyone is interested on writing about us, we'd love to chat with you. Please email brad at lucidchart dot com for more details.
What kind of support or documentation do you provide?
We won't leave you hanging. It's easy to get started with Lucidchart -- just visit the university, K-12, or student page and follow the instructions. If you ever have questions or problems, you can visit our support portal. This portal is your home base for any customer service needs. Want to submit a feature request? We have a handy form ready for you. Do you enjoy chatting with other users about the product? The user forum could be your second home. For most users, the tutorials section is our most useful resource. We offer extensively detailed tutorials on nearly every element of Lucidchart, from integrating with Google Drive and Google Apps to styling your lines just so. If you experience an unexpected problem, feel free to email our support staff by selecting "Submit a ticket" when logged in. Our current response time is less than one business day, so you can expect prompt, friendly, and competent service.
What if my students get confused?
You can always point your students to our text tutorials, which they can access through a link on your school or classroom website or through the "Help" tab in the Lucidchart editor. If you need any help adding support information to your site, please email us and we'll be happy to assist! We also have pages on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn that are chock-full of useful tips, tricks, and feature updates.
How do I get started?
We can easily upgrade your account to our free education account. Please email us at support at lucidchart dot com, or refer to this page to get started. Happy Diagramming!