Adobe Muse

Working Adobe Muse

Yesterday afternoon I was given an assignment to build a micro-site, on a very tight deadline and budget. Now I want to point out I am Not a coder/developer. I can hack my way around with some light HTML and CSS stuff but I am not the guy you want to sit down and start writing from code scratch. Especially if it involves advanced HTML5 and CSS tricks paired up with Java.

So in order to get the initial site design hammered out with the correct flow, look and feel, and user experience, I turned to Adobe Muse which I haven’t touched since it was in beta on Adobe Labs. I have to say, while not perfect, it does a solid job of letting me plan and execute this small 11 page site. The application is pretty much drop dead simple, and allows you to create all sorts of things like modal windows with video embedded in it.

Now before any hardcore code junkies fire up the comment wagon and send a bunch of comments slamming Muse, remember this application was not built for developers. It was built for designers that need to rapid prototype a web design for functionality and user flow. And hopefully Muse will be a catalyst for designers wanting to learn more about HTML, CSS, and Java. For a couple of quick reviews of the software, click here or here. For a more in depth overview of what Muse does, and to see how it is different from things like Dreamweaver watch the video below.

Adobe MAX, Muse, and Edge Preview 3.

Having just spent the last 6 days in Los Angeles attending the Adobe MAX conference, my blog posts have been on the light side. I tried to keep up with the post-a-day stuff, but it’s hard when you are attending a conference, speaking at the conference, and enjoying the conference festivities at night.

Since not everyone could attend MAX this year, I thought I would touch on a couple of the things that stood out in the keynotes. Things you should be interested in if you are an interactive designer. I would really like to tell you about two things I saw in the “Adobe Sneaks” section that pertain to Photoshop, but I am sworn to secrecy. Let just say this, if two of the sneaks items I saw make it into the next version of Photoshop, your head is going to explode with joy and amazement.

The things I can talk about are “Muse” and the “Edge Preview 3” that were both shown in keynotes on Monday and Tuesday. If you haven’t downloaded and installed the beta’s of these applications, and the Muse InDesign extension do it now.

Adobe Edge is a web motion and interaction design tool that lets designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3. The good news is, you don’t have to write code, the UI looks like After Effects, and the results are freaking amazing. Version 3 which was shown, demoed some really nice HTML5 based animation combined with an interactive layer that was used to build a web app that could be handed off to any developer for further refinement, if needed. The results that were shown preformed fluidly, and were built in a matter of minutes. In typical Adobe fashion, the UI looked clean and elegant, easy to use, and the program showed how you could be up and running in no time.

Muse is a standalone application, as well as an extension for InDesign. I highly recommend that you go to the Adobe Muse site and take a long look at what these tools can do. When combined with Adobe’s e-publishing tools, this program and extension become a one stop publishing and dynamic media tool allowing you to build everything from a magazine to an iPad application, to a web site. There is far more information than I want to write about here, and I know that I won’t give Muse the credit it deserves. Let me just say that in the 15 minutes that it was being shown off on stage, it really did make me stop and say this has the ability to change things in a very big way. That is a big thing for me to say. I am not the guy that looks at a new tool and immediately starts clamoring about how awesome it is, and how it is going to change the world, especially when it comes to development tools for the internet and rich media application development.

Both these software packages offer up a quick and easier way for designers to prototype applications that scale across multiple screens and outlet points. If you do any level of interactive design, you really need to investigate Muse, and Edge if you haven’t already.