4 Things You Should Know About the Full Release of Adobe Muse

After more than a year of beta version testing, the official release of Adobe Muse this week marks the beginning of a new era in web development. Following in the footsteps of Adobe Dreamweaver, Muse makes web design a breeze for graphic designers who don’t know how to hand-code HTML, or have the time to learn.

Using an interface similar to Adobe InDesign, Muse behaves more like a layout program than a web publishing or programming tool, allowing people who are familiar with Adobe products to feel right at home. With its simplistic front end, users can create master pages, menu bars, and sub-pages with a negligible amount of graphic design experience.

With the built in FTP server tools, users can upload directly to their website host, or use the export tool to generate clean HTML5 code that can be easily uploaded with any FTP transfer program. Because of the inherent simplicity of creating sites (very quickly, I might add), Muse is opening the floodgates for amateur web developers, while making critics out of those who have spent years learning to write code from scratch.

So far, I have been extremely impressed with the ease of use and potential to create highly professional web designs from such a simple program. As more users jump on the bandwagon, I expect to see some impressive examples of just what this program can do. In the meantime, here are four things you should know about the full release of Adobe Muse.

  1. Industry StigmaMany experienced web developers are sticking their nose up at Muse, dismissing it as a consumer-based tool for personal websites and non-commercial applications. Quite frankly, many of them are concerned about being put out of a job by the next generation of crossover designers! Professional developers may refuse to work on a Muse-designed site, or require a complete overhaul before rendering assistance. Businesses should keep this in mind, if the need may arise to expand a site beyond the basic Muse layout or incorporate advanced tools like an online database with user search capabilities. 
  2. Coding LimitationsThese same industry professionals will also likely tell you that the HTML code output from Muse is ‘bloated’ by their standards. This means that Muse generates sites with many superfluous HTML tags that are unnecessary and may be slower to load (especially on mobile devices). Ultimately, messy HTML code may be difficult to edit by hand, create problems with search engine optimization, and may interfere with your search rankings on Google.
  3. Subscription-Based ServiceThe release of Muse this week introduces a new way of software pricing by Adobe. Muse marks the first Adobe product that has been available only as a subscription service instead of a flat rate fee. The software is offered as a service for $14.99 per month (annual subscription) or for $24.99 (month-to-month). Potential users should be aware that these fees can add up over time and that it may be cheaper to hire a web designer for a one-time flat rate. Keep in mind if your website requires only minimal edits, it may be more cost-effective to buy Muse on an as-needed basis than to subscribe for an entire year.
  4. Free to TryRight now, like most Adobe offerings, Muse is free to try for 30 days. If you are considering getting into web development this may be the perfect opportunity. Although the trial only lasts a month, with the fast and simple interface of Muse, you will have more than enough time to create a professional website and even make a few updates. Then it’s just $24.99 to make updates for a full 30 days. Compared to the cost of Adobe Dreamweaver ($399), Muse is making new waves in the industry and ruffling a few feathers in the process. Like it or not, it is a powerful tool, and completely free to try.

What’s your take on Muse — sloppy HTML for beginners or game-changer in amateur web design?

Industry veteran Anita Brady is the President of www.123print.com, a leading provider of high quality customizable items like business cards, letterhead and other materials for small businesses and solo practitioners.

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