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Adobe Muse – Designer Friendly Website Creation

by sjledet on August 17, 2011

Adobe Muse is now available to the public. This tool is exactly what a lot of designers have been waiting for. Experienced web developers may find it’s not to their liking. It’s certainly not designed for people who want high-level control of their coding. It’s designed for designers who want pixel-perfect layouts, decent easy-to-manage Javascript functionality (without knowing Javascript), and easy compatibility across browsers.

Let’s get right to the point. If you can use Adobe InDesign, you can use Adobe Muse. It’s a page layout tool for website design based on a Master Page concept similar to that in Adobe InDesign.

Adobe Muse is currently free while it is in beta testing. You can download it from http://muse.adobe.com.

The product incorporates an easy to use and understand sitemap creation feature for planning and organizing as site, Master pages  and headers & footers that designers are typically already familiar with, and familiar Adobe image editing tools like the Place command, the eyedropper for color selection, guides, character and paragraph styles, and much more.

Pricing of the product is going to be $20 per month with 3 months free if you buy a year at a time ($180/year). That doesn’t include hosting. The software will only be available by subscription. It’s expected that Adobe will switch over to a paid model in early 2012.

Adobe Muse removes a lot of the web specific complexity that previously stood in the way of creatives who wanted to get attractive layouts and designs on the web, but found Dreamweaver, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to be intimidating and confusing. With Muse, you can place native Adobe Photoshop PSD files into a web page, and Muse handles optimizing and publishing behind the scenes.

Typography is easy. The current version lists web compatible fonts in one section, with non web-standard fonts automatically converted to images for precise, perfect control. HTML alt-text preserves some level of search engine optimization. Some will fault Adobe for not including downloadable fonts out of the gate, but it’s bound to be coming, and compatibility with all browsers is an important feature as well.

Muse includes CSS and jQuery based interactivity features for easy to use widgets to provide functionality like auto-generated site navigation and menus, rollovers for buttons, slideshows and lightboxes, tabbed interfaces, and triggers and targets for what is referred to often as disjointed rollovers.

Previewing a design is easy using the integrated Webkit based browser (Webkit is what Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome is based on) as well as a full preview in browser feature that exports a temporary site to your local hard drive and opens in your computers native browser.

Publishing to the web is a one step process if you are using Adobe’s hosting ($9/month) or you can export your site design to HTML. If you host elsewhere, you’ll need to use your hosting providers tools or FTP software for uploading your site.

Muse is built on Adobe AIR so you need a computer capable of running AIR, which means either a PC (pretty much any modern PC) or an Intel based Mac running Snow Leopard or later.

While it’s unlikely to convert experienced Dreamweaver users or HTML/JavaScript knowledgable web designers, Adobe Muse is going to end up being a lot of graphic designers web page editing tool of choice.

  • If only I used Adobe products for design beyond Photoshop – hard to keep up with all the updates and tools but good to know you have some great tips for us! 

  • Another interesting product!

  • Thanks for sharing 😉

  • Very cool….I want to look further into this!

  • Just shared on Twitter for all of my Adobe loving friends.

  • This sounds really interesting!  Thanks, will share 🙂 

  • Have always like most of Adobe’s products. Will download this and check it out. Thanks for the info.

  • The fact is: the code rendered (at least in its beta form) is embarrassing. It will set you apart as a print designer, using a tool that doesn’t really understand how powerful and fluid the web should be. Also, the subscription model is scary. You’re committing to believe that Adobe won’t abandon this like they did with PageMill, GoLive and other products they claimed would enable print designers to make beautiful websites. Once they lose interest, those quarterly updates might become more than quarterly if at all. And if you’re relying on the Business Catalyst system to host, or run future planned CMS-enabled sites, be wary too, that’s yet another payment and system you’re relying solely on Adobe to keep up. Quite frankly, the company doesn’t have a strong track record in my opinion to catering to these types of designer-web experiences. Rather where they truly shine are with solid releases of Photoshop and InDesign.  

    Sure embrace Muse… give it a go. Just know what you’re committing to… and also shop around. Take a look at Freeway, Flux or even RapidWeaver if you’re truly interested in bridging your print design skills in an easy fashion over to the Web. I guarantee, as of this writing, the code will be a lot cleaner/quicker and you might just be happier with the end result.

  • Thanks for the Google+ outline. I really like the handshake analogy. Still trying to really gage how I like Google+ in relation to the other social networks.

  • Great tool for beginners, but I am a Dream Weaver and Notepad++ guy all the way!

  • Andyqe

    I am not a web designer so having it will be great.

  • noa

    okay, never mind this odd program. 

  • Sb

    SiteGrinder makes nicer code.

  • Mark

    180 US$ per year for a light web design program you don’t ever get to own. Who do Abobe think we are… cows? Sandvox, Rapidweaver cost half that price and include the uploading program and possibility of code editing (just in case).

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