Recently Adobe released Muse which is supposed to bring the world of web design to print designers. Sure I can agree that there are a lot of awesome print designers not building stuff for the web, but there are a lot of web designers not doing print work. They’re two different mediums that require specialized skills.


When first reading about Muse on [Macworld][macworld] I figured correctly that while the generated code would be a bit better than what other code generator programs produce it would be pret terrible for true ‘coders’ to look at. I was right if any of the myriad of other posts on Muse are correct. We’re back to tag soup with this one. View the source and don’t forget to view source on the muse site itself to see the terrible.

While lack of fluid/responsive sites are mentioned as a flaw by Elliot Jay Stocks I don’t see this as an issue. First I’m not a big fan of fluid sites. Rather than design a site that expands for larger desktop screens I think a client should put their money in to building a mobile (tablet and phone) specific design. I’m also not a big fan of ‘responsive’ design. The way I’ve seen it implemented adds weight to the page specifically for devices that have the most constraints on how fast they can access information. I think that you should be figuring out what type of device you’re dealing with as soon as possible and delivering only the content that the device can handle. If you’re doing this in a WordPress environment then look at [WP Touch Pro][wptouch] (affiliate).

Poor Clients

I think the people that are really going to pay for this are the clients of the designers that use Muse. They’re going to hire a designer expecting to get a cutting edge site, and while it may look good, it will really only be a nice coat of paint on a clunker. They’ll end up needing some more advanced functions and need a real coder who will then tell them how terrible the code is which will leave the client feeling betrayed. Adobe is helping print designers provide bad service to they’re clients, awesome job.


The subscription pricing of Muse also irks me. The only reason I have CS5 is because of Adobe’s stupid policies on cross grades only for the currently shipping version. I don’t need CS5 heck CS3 or CS1 would suit my needs fine.

I think Adobe knows that they add features all the time that 90% of their users don’t need and to stop them from having the option of not upgrading and saving money on feature bloat they’re just going to offer everything as a subscription. Then you keep getting my money and I keep getting your crappy features. Sure they’re features I don’t need but I’ll upgrade to your continually more bloated software because I have a subscription.

At The End of the Day

It’s a noble effort to bring print designers in to the web space. I know a number of struggling print designers, they’re work is drying up as more and more advertising is spent on the web, but that doesn’t mean it ‘s a good idea. Being able to build a site without understanding the basics of how it works is just s recipe for trouble. I can’t wait for my first call on a broken site from Muse where I tell them I don’t fix Muse sites but I can build it properly now. Maybe I could start a reality TV show like Holmes on Homes where I go in and rip up a terrible site with generated code and build it properly.


9 responses to “Adobe Muse – Yet Another Adobe Mistake”

  1. Gem Webb Avatar

    I totally agree with your insights that: Web and Print designers are two different mediums that require specialized skills.

    They keep trying to make simple web software apps like “Adobe Contribute”. Why not keep focusing on Fireworks? It builds websites also. Sheesh, adobe is reaching with this one. Good luck, seems like a waste of invested expert time to build it. Better to make a button in illustrator or something to export for web… wait it does that already doesn’t it? -lol-

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      Yeah how about making Fireworks 64 bit on Mac, it’s the only Adobe CS product that isn’t 64.

  2. Cobey Shaver Avatar

    I spent the weekend trying it out. I have to admit, it impressed me initially.

    I have to cover the gap in my job between print and web design, so I thought this might be the perfect tool to use for some of my simple sites.

    Then I looked at the scripting. The redundancy is horrible, and in general, very poorly done. What really gets me is I did a six page site and wound up with seven stylesheets, most of the contents of each being the same as all the others.

    Maybe Adobe can rework things so it streamlines things, writes presentable code or gives more control to the designer as far as naming divs and such. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

    Thanks for posting about it curtis!

  3. Adobe Business Catalyst designer Avatar

    While I agree with you that the generated code may be a mess to the human eye, I do on the other hand see a giant potential in Adobe Muse. Not just for designers – but for coders as well – however, I do concur that Adobe need to sort out the code structure issues. Although standard compliant it’s not very handy for coders that need to rework a design made using Muse.

    Nonethless, I have been playing around with muse for 1.5 week and as you can tell from my initial response I am quite impressed. I think muse has the potential of being useful to most people provided they make the output more developer friendly…

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      I know that I’ll simply refuse to work on a site that’s generated with Muse. The headache isn’t worth it even if I’m working hourly.

      I still think that Muse will create a bunch more ‘web designers’ that really have no true knowledge of how to work with the medium of the web and thus we’ll get a bunch more crappy Web sites. There are plenty of tools that allow people to build bad Web sites without Adobe throwing their weight behind it. Besides like I said why not focus on their other apps and make things like Fireworks 64bit on OSX?

  4. Andrew Avatar

    Generated code aside, the fact has been for a long time – and now Adobe presents it this way in their videos – that I don’t need to program page layout or illustration programs to get my documents to look as they should, and I should not have to do the same for web.

    The tools for simple website creation that allow full graphic control without coding are astoundingly behind the curve.

    Muse is on the right track. And frankly, if it works, most people don’t care what the code looks like.

    Now, I fully get that coders are needed for a lot of development – but for making a “basic” site look good and work well while allowing the author to genuinely make it “their own”, they should not be.

    All that said – unless they rethink their subscription model, I’ll never use the software regardless of how well it codes.

    1. curtismchale Avatar

      More and more people will start to care what the code looks like. Using code generation tools like Muse can even possibly put you on the wrong side of accessibility law. I know in the UK there are laws around how a site must treat users with disabilities. While these tools may makes steps that bring them closer to what is good I don’t think it is possible for them to stay up to date with the latest requirements.

      Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

  5. Peter Avatar

    I agree with much of the sentiment expressed here, however, my background started with typography that went by the wayside. Then I embraced film output, which also came and went quickly… etc. etc etc. As a Designer and web designer, I have always preferred the nuts and bolts method. I design magazines and also design websites which I hard code. I never liked Dreamweaver and others, because they too write very complicated unorganized code. Having said that, I know that a lot of new users will come on board if the program survives… (more users will keep it alive LOL). I have been using it for testing purposes and I have to say that the end result is quite impressive if a user has no idea of the background functionality (regardless of the bloated code generated). I am going to push this one to the limits and sit back and watch the marketplace. But for serious web designers and programmers, this will not make much of a dent in their markets.

    P.S. As an example, as a color specialist in the print industry we used to be held accountable for correct print color… Now nobody cares!

  6. Oscar Avatar

    Sure, people who dont know anything about webdesign and webdevelopment will probbably enjoy muse. But that isn’t a good thing. More crappy website are being built. I dont think the coders and designers will be as happy about it though. To chop up a PS/AI template to code is part of the fun of being a webdesigner. It’s nice to solve problem that appears when working on a website. The webdesigners and coders will get half as fun as their having now. Eventhough muse is in beta I too belive the generated code thing sucks. If muse become a hit and they are planning to use same kind of generated code in the complete version i think that even css3 will die… Their using images for border radius!!!