Combining one part design with two parts technical know-how, web design is a multifaceted discipline. In fact, traditional print designers have often found the switch to web to be a formidable challenge. It isn’t easy slipping from your comfort zone into the world of tags, script and markup.
Now Adobe Muse hopes to make life easier for web designers by taking a lot of the difficult code work out of the equation. Muse is designed to be a true WYSIWYG web editor, using many tools and a layout that would be familiar to users of InDesign, and eliminating the need for direct HTML contact. Terminology in Muse is similar to that in InDesign, allowing users to work with a webpage just as they would a print page.
While this might be a great thing for those that don’t know or don’t understand how to use HTML and CSS, it’s viewed as a disappointing “shortcut” by some of those that have worked hard to learn both design and code.
On one hand, it gives print designers the ability to do simple image oriented websites using a familiar interface. This might give them a way to break into web design without learning a lot of the difficult code first. Layouts can be done as easily as they can in InDesign without ever having to touch a line of code.
On the other hand, it might cause a lot of the basic steps in web design to be ignored, thereby launching non-web designers into a world they don’t understand. The strength of web designers is their ability to not only design a good-looking fully-functional site, but to understand how it works and write the code that makes everything function properly. Many have had to pay their dues to get to where they are and Muse might, in some ways, subvert that.
Adobe has made the Beta version of Muse available to everyone to try. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!