Adobe Muse preview

Since the launch of Adobe InDesign; designers have had an integrated set of tools to handle their print workflow. Using InDesign for page layout; Photoshop for photo editing; Illustrator for creating impressive artwork and Acrobat for output the possibilities are endless; but until now there’s not been a similarly integrated tool for web design.

Adobe’s Muse aims to change all of that. Adopting the familiar interface of InDesign; Photoshop et al Muse looks to bring website design totally within the remit of the designer and removes the need for some of the more complicated coding behind websites.

The feature set is divided into four main areas:

Plan your site A fully interactive sitemap allows for the structure of the site to be created and manipulated quickly; Master pages can be created setting the structure and tone for your site and Site-wide properties can be applied for margins, page width, alignment and hyperlink colours.

For users of InDesign, Adobe's Muse will be instantly accessible

Design with freedom The toolset is immediately familiar; with smart guides, paste in place, edit original, the eyedropper, columns, gutters, etc; Pages can dynamically resize; Images are automatically optimised for the web; Edits made in other applications are reflected immediately in Muse. A nice touch is the Asset management panel allowing you immediate access to audio, video and imagery used within your site.

Add rich interactivity Navigation is automatically generated based upon the pages within your sitemap; Objects can have defined states; HTML can be embedded allowing you to import Google Maps, YouTube videos, Social media buttons, feeds and more; Anchor links; Accordion panels and more.

Publish your site You can preview your site; then publish it either to an Adobe hosting service or your own provider. You can also be sure that the code created by Muse is cross-platform compatible – it’s created to meet the standards of HTML 5.

In use I found much to like about Muse. As an InDesign user; the interface was highly intuitive allowing me to quickly and easily put together the structure for my website. Using a master page to hold page furniture appearing within every section of the site allowed much more of a focus on the content itself. Previewing the content brings more than satisfactory responses.

The ease with which you can bring in HTML feeds from elsewhere must be commended. Needing a map on this particular website I was able to get the HTML code from Google Maps; bring it into my website then give my website users the ability to click and drag within that map. All it took was a copy and paste of the HTML source.

Adobe have invested a lot of time in ensuring that the code generated by Muse is pure HTML 5; this means that it will immediately be viewable with full interactivity on platforms that do not support Adobe Flash. From a usability sense, in a matter of a few hours you can go from having a website with nothing on it to a fully interactive site incorporating video elements; audio; Facebook integration and much more besides.

At the moment it’s in Beta; but the program is stable, works well and is (for the moment) free. You’re not tied down to the Adobe servers for publishing and the end result need not be edited again within Muse.

OUR VERDICT

Adobe Muse is impressive. It allows those familiar with InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop immediate access to a wealth of creating tools. From that designers can create their own content-rich websites without having to understand the technology beneath them when it comes to adding interactivity. It’s got considerable potential for the future, and I can see this becoming a tool within every web designer’s arsenal. Recommended.

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