Monday, August 15, 2011

Adobe launches public beta of Muse, promising web design w/o coding for those familiar with Creative Suite

Well, it is the dog days of summer so there really is no important news today, right? Yeah, right. You wake up and find out out Google has bought Motorola Mobility, yikes. But knowing that all the other tech sites are going to be pretty obsessed about that move, and rightly so, let's talk about the new product from Adobe which will likely get little attention today: Muse.
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Adobe Muse is a new product that is entering a public beta. It promises to allow users to create websites without coding. It is, basically, a web design product for those already familiar with Adobe's Creative Suite products, but not so much Dreamweaver and other web design options. In other words, this isn't meant to be iWeb, though a notice could probably get the hang of this with a little work.

Muse, as mentioned, is in public beta now, you can download it on the website, and watch some videos that further explain the product.
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For most publishers I would not think this will be very helpful in launching your new site unless there are some important changes that expand its utility. But this will help the publisher who is more nimble and aggressive online. Let me explain.

In my experience in web publishing, which really does go back to the beginning of publishing products going online, the biggest problem I've felt has been that launching a website is just too big a deal. It usually involves a web team or outside vendor, and takes forever. I've never understood why media people want to lock themselves into contracts with outside firms that promise beautiful new websites . . . in six months.

What if you want to launch a site now? I mean now? Right now?

Forget it. Most publishers simply can't act that fast.

When I changed hosts for my family website a couple of years ago I forgot to do something - find a new host. I know, I had a brain lock. But I found myself one morning with no website and so needed to act fast. It took me exactly one hour to find the host, contract with them, and load up my site, and for it to appear (mostly). I was rather impressed.

But what if you are a B2B magazine that suddenly gets a great idea and want to add a new section to your website, and have it appear under its own URL. It would take a bunch of calls, a committee meeting, etc.

Why not have your art director work something up in something like Muse? Then launch it using a separate host that you use for these kinds of projects.

In the past one of the issues is having on staff web people. Muse promises to allow the staff you have that can use Photoshop and/or InDesign to efficient design and upload a new site more quickly. Or at least, that is how I could see some publishers utilizing Muse.

Now for some details: Muse is currently available as a beta product for both PCs and Macs. You have to have Adobe AIR already installed (I discovered I already did when I tried to install it again). Otherwise the tech requirements are pretty minimal.

Pricing: well, it's free for now, but that won't last. And if you are looking for a $100 quick fix, this isn't it either.

Adobe wants to go with a subscription model. The prices are not set in stone yet, but the website is pointing to an annual fee of $15 per month, or $20 on a month-to-month basis.

The problem I have with subscription models is that a lot of the software I have I do not use very often, but really need to occasionally. I prefer to just own it and know it is there when I need it. But others who don't want to shell out $200-$500 at a time may feel this is a good solution for them.

1 Comment:

Digital Amber said...

Muse sounds like a brilliant idea - needs more research to see how to fully utilise it's functionality.
We at Digital Amber - web design and SEO agency, are using different tools at the moment but I can see how Adobe Muse could fill the gap.

I share the same concerns regarding pricing model. Thanks for the article!