The Muse Paradigm
Guest post by Jay Harrison, Creative Director at DesignConcept
Once there were the coders and the designers and while it was not like the Jets and Sharks in Westside Story, it was hard for the two to meet in the middle. Designers knew how to make a site look great but they needed the coders to make it work great (or work at all, for that matter).
As a graphic designer that wanted to design and build websites, I had no choice but to learn how to use Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Back then, they were part of the Macromedia family, but now they are all part of the Adobe juggernaut. Does it scare graphic designers that Adobe has such a monopoly on all the software we need to do our jobs? Yes. But that doesn’t take anything away from Adobe’s newest offering for website building.
Simply put, Muse is amazing. If you know how to use Adobe InDesign, it will not be difficult at all to learn how to build and publish websites with Muse – and with a very short learning curve. The only downside to working with Muse is that it can be hard to resist using too many of the software’s gimmicks too often. The parallax scrolling feature in Muse has been compared to the advent of drop shadow effects when that function was added to InDesign. You have to restrain yourself from overdoing it.
We had considered putting more energy into using WordPress for website design and build. Its content management system (CMS) would be attractive to our clients and the tons of templates was persuasive as well. But then we looked more closely at Muse and realized that it enabled us to create fresh designs instead of cookie cutter templates and it also had CMS potential. Combine that with the fact that you can create websites with virtually no knowledge of HTML code, and it became an easy decision to sign up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Oh yeah. I have to mention that Adobe is now requiring us to subscribe on a monthly basis or order to have access to the software. The good news is that for a relatively low cost ($19.99 per month), we have access to the full suite of Adobe design products (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Acrobat, etc.). The bad news? Will that cost continue to go up year after year, making it more and more difficult for graphic designers to keep up? Only time will tell, but for now, Muse has become the go-to software to create eye-catching websites. Graphic designers now have a tool that allows them to take concepts that were once only possible in page layout software (InDesign or QuarkXpress) and easily translate them to a web product.
Jay Harrison is Creative Director at DesignConcept, a graphic design firm based in Savage, Maryland. He is also the editor and writer for BoomSpeak, an ezine for baby boomers.
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