31 8 / 2011

Adobe dropped a brand new beta on the creative community recently: Adobe Muse. Its geared towards designers who want to create web content with zero coding. The community has been split down the middle with some hailing it as a great success and others demanding its execution and claiming it hurts the industry. There’s a great, balanced article over at Fast Co Design discussing Muse’s reception.  I posted a comment there with my take, which I’ll repeat here…

There are always going to be two extreme sides that people lean towards when something like Adobe Muse comes out:

1) The non-developers who tout Muse as the “ultimate solution” that will allow them to compete at the level of a true developer. (which is false)

2) The developers who claim that Muse is just a shoddily hacked together application that shouldn’t warrant any further thought because, “Gosh darnit, anything that doesn’t code how I do needs to die.” (which is also false).

In my mind, Adobe Muse is a great step forward.  And it’s not because it will put web developers out of a job OR because it will allow your brother’s kid to create a stellar website.  A tool is only as good as the one who wields it.  Your brother’s kid still isn’t going to create a great website if he has no design sense. Conversely your dyed-in-the-wool, Zeldman-worshipping coder who meticulously crafts his/her code to finest degree, STILL won’t have a great website if they have no design sense.

Hey developers, take a chill pill. There’s no reason to get up in arms over a tool that makes design more accessible. No one’s going to take your job on top of the ‘clean code’ hill.  But hey, your coder superiority card just became worth a little less, so why not pay more attention to the design and UX of your site instead of obsessing over code-optimization as the be all, end all.

Hey designers, take a chill pill. This app in no way puts you on the heels of your developer brethren. It allows you to more easily inject your carefully cultivated UX scenarios and awesome looking graphic creations, but its still not clean code. So don’t think you can brush off the need for that knowledge.

Honestly, Adobe Muse is awesome for so many reasons in my book.  As a designer/developer hybrid, I’m loving it.  It allows me to build insanely good interactive, nearly pixel perfect prototypes in record time.  Is the code as clcean as could be? Nope.  Is the overall design improved and time from concept to production greatly reduced? Absolutely! It allows me to be much, much more productive and iterate much faster so that I end up with a really slick product in the end. I’d much rather have a higher emphasis on design and turnaround time at the beginning of a project.  If and when the client decides to move forward with a particular design/scenario, then we can invest the time streamlining the code set.

Which brings me back around to how I’ve been using it most: prototyping. No other tool in my arsenal has allowed me to create interactive prototypes as quickly as Muse has with such a high degree of fidelity.  I’m not talking about website prototypes… I’m talking iOS, Android, and Mac/Win software protoypes. Being able to quickly create and link screens for applications, dump them into a public folder on dropbox, and then share with the client in way that that they can easily access them without any special software (via the web) has proven invaluable.

Perhaps I’m ranting now, but let me sum it all up: Its just a tool at the end of the day.  Use it how you will to make yourself more productive.  Just don’t knock the tool because its causing you to feel insecure. Adobe seems to get a lot of haters, especially from the Mac side of things. I don’t understand it. Are there major things they could improve? Definitely.  But you don’t anyone else innovating and dominating the creative space like they do. Pay due respect.

  1. olmstead posted this