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Adobe Muse! Really?!

So, I just saw a co-worker build a web page with Adobe Muse. He is a graphic designer with almost no coding skills. He was able to easily create the webpage while writing ZERO lines of code.

I can't help but feel a little annoyed when I see him create a great looking page with so little coding. I personally like learning about the coding process and always create sites almost from scratch.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this the future of web design? Have we all been wasting hours and hours on learning html, CSS, grids, etc? Will graphic designers be replacing front-end developers all together soon?

Thanks in advance!

11 Answers

3,523 Points

There will always be room for WISIWYG editors, along with self-service sites. People trade the ability to customize for price or convenience. If your client is successful, their needs tend to exceed the features provided by these products. A skilled developer isn't competing against this software. A developer/designer's relationship with a client is about service. Not just to deliverer and end product, but to consult by suggesting best practices, offering customized solutions, and using market knowledge to solve problems.

Although software like Muse seem to speed up the process, you lose control for the sake of convenience. If your friend had a browser-specific issue, how could he resolve it? If you friend's client asked for the page display data pulled in from a database, how would he do it? If someone calls themselves a web designer/developer and Muse is their main tool, they'll soon be put out of business self-service sites like Squarespace.

This is NOT the future of web design, but rather another subset. An analogy to consider: In a world where fast food is everywhere, professional chefs have even more value than ever. One day, I'd like to build an app with another app, someone has to start the cycle with code.The content offered on TreeHouse is the future. It's highly technical, not easy always easy to grasp and takes time to learn.

Consider it an economy of scale. He's limited by the type of client he can handle. The skills you're acquiring could lead you to working on enterprise-level web projects that pay well. Your friend on Muse... not so much.

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

Muse is an improvement over Dreamweaver and Adobe's Edge Reflow is an improvement over Muse. Now there's webflow which is an improvement over those.

I think the fast food analogy is quite apt, there's quite a bit of money to be made in using tools to speed up the process. There's a current trend with developers using "opinionated frameworks" such as Bootstrap to help speed up the design process.

This reminds me of the development version of the Design is a Job just a designer is more than someone that makes changes to a PSD per client direction. A developer is more than a person that converts a PSD into a website.

Filipe Torres
Filipe Torres
487 Points

The main problem with Adobe Edge Reflow is a lack of export to HTML, CSS and Javascript feature. It's not possible to use the generated prototype code in workflow. It's necessary rebuild the code from scratch.

I couldn't have said it better myself. I've always been a code junky. I got super excited the first time I retrieved results back from a database using PHP and a MySQL. The future is with professional developers who can create single page applications that mimic or exceed desktop application functionality. The future money will be spent on the developers who use AJAX to seamlessly retrieve data without a page refresh. The future is in VR, where we experience a website through VR glasses.

Adobe Dreamweaver and other platforms have been around for years providing WYSIWYG editors that can create websites with ease for those who don't want to code. That being said, the majority of them are limited with their capabilities and programs like Dreamweaver often add a lot of unnecessary and junk code.

Think of it like this, you can hire the kid down the street to mow your lawn for a little bit of money or you can have an expert lawn service care for it and pay a little more. Both will cut your grass, but one will give you a lot better outcome and curb-appeal.

Continue to learn and push yourself to try new techniques. Push the envelope in web development and those simple programs won't be able to keep up.

Is it possible to create front end with Muse, and then as a coder edit this produced Html, CSS and Javascript that Muse produce, and then even add back end?, I mean, using this tool I can certainly make things faster and add custom code on my own, even backend?, what do you think about this, is this possible?

Sorry to bump this ancient thread, I like this question. Like the op, I like to code and was a little agitated at the thought that it can be quite easy nowadays to throw together a boilerplate website in a few minutes and have it look very well done. After stumbling upon Muse and playing around with it for a while, I asked myself the same question as Mario, can I use this to whip up a good looking UI/UX and then add my own code?

The conclusion I came to is...maybe. I know, helpful, right? Muse has an export to HTML feature, which I haven't gotten far enough to try yet, but I'm hoping its promising. My fingers are crossed that by "Export to HTML", they mean "export an HTML doc with all the <script> and <header> info that you need to deploy it yourself." If this is the case, then yes you can use this as apart of your coding tool belt and, I'd argue, you should.

I like writing code. I don't like drawing pictures, fiddling with box placement or anticipating user experience. Although adding this could quite possibly be a needless layer of abstraction, if they're willing to ease the UI design experience for me, I'll let them. Imagine if you could bang out a designer-level UI in a few hours? You'd be free to develop some amazing APIs with powerhouse databases and Angularize to your hearts content. All in-house, done by you with lightning speed and surgical precision. Where do I sign up?

James Barnett
James Barnett
39,199 Points

If the only value you bring to a project is writing clean, semantic, responsive HTML & CSS then for small brochure sites a client will probably get much better value from a designer who doesn't "code" but has good interactive design skills.

However that's just one type of project where frontend developers work, work on larger site working with JavaScript are things that WYSIWYG apps are probably never going to be good at.

Renée Mak
Renée Mak
659 Points

Designer here. My opinions....

I use Muse and am learning Webflow to design microsites or functional prototypes in a pinch. My front end is just okay and so I appreciate tools like Muse and Webflow.

My opinion? Tools like this will never replace developers - at best they can do quick and surface level front end but if you want things that are actually very functional, you'll always have to rely on back-end devs for that or more serious front-end.

I wouldn't worry about Muse and Webflow. They are used for a different purpose and a useful tool for designers. It makes our workflow a lot faster without constantly having to rely on developers or diluting our design skills by splitting our focus on both design and development.

I've used Adobe Muse and ran into a lot of problems with it, but it's a great tool to make great looking websites. The main purpose is to build basic but attractive websites.

WOW, thanks for the feedback guys!

Liked this topic a lot! Great feedback, Muse is just another way to give a new service.

I asked my boyfriend about it (he is a software developer and knows a few things about this). He told me that web-designer/developers won't be replaced. You learn something everyday, work on your skills and in the future you will valued more for your knowledge and skills.

Continue learning ;) Everything you do now is and will be worth it.

Matthew Greenberg
Matthew Greenberg
7,226 Points

I like the optimism, but the simplicity and beauty of Muse is only going to get more robust. I think it is a legitimate concern. As is SquareSpace and other web-based front-end applications.

Jonathan Sanchez
Jonathan Sanchez
8,080 Points

Thank you for these posts,

They are really helpful and i agree with many of you that Muse its ok if you are going to make 1 or 2 personal websites that you will not change or touch very often.

Otherwise you will run into many issues if you try to sell a website in MUSE and you find your self stuck because some javascript its just not doing what you planned. Not to mention that it will be tough to get a CMS working with Muse, i've tried with Adobe Business Catalyst and its painful.

So in my opinion

  • MUSE good for personal website
  • MUSE not so good for professional Website services for clients