I started the Adobe Generations Pro course in Web Design this week. As with the Graphics & Illustration course, I am not participating necessarily to learn new skills, more to understand better how online learning works and to gain recognition for the skills I already have. That said, the ore software we’ll be investigating is Adobe Muse and I’m interested in this for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve used it on and off over its development from an Experiment to a fully-fledged web design application. Secondly, I have suggested we switch from a hand-coded approach (in Dreamweaver) to a design appraoch (Muse) for our level 1 Digital Media module. This might provide a useful framework for delivering the skills required to use this software.
Open Adobe Muse and create an initial page with some text, rename that page and create a new homepage. Then save the work to your local computer. (The file will have an extension of .muse.)
You’re not required to share the page at this stage; this is just practice. Don’t worry about making a good site, or even a site that works. We simply want you to test out the Adobe Muse interface and get familiar with following the tutorials. Have fun and be prepared to experiment.
I understand the brief required me to write about the experience of creating a first web page built with Muse but as I have already created a published site using Muse, I thought I should probably reflect on that.
First of all I would like to comment on just how far I think Muse has come. I have dabbled with Muse ever since it was a “preview” app. Back then I saw its potential to fill the void between Dreamweaver and Photoshop/InDesign, a place where you could create web elements in a visually-oriented way using tools and methodologies you could apply from Photoshop/InDesign experience. Placing elements using CSS is a relatively advanced topic but essential to master, even for a beginner. Dreamweaver’s visual “design mode” was never really much good at this (although in CC 2015, it’s actually pretty decent). Still, Muse is perfect for those who only need to design & layout sites & pages and don’t need to focus on the complex FTP, CSS and Scripting aspects of web development.
When creating my recent site using Muse I noticed that the tool set and features have matured and it is now a very usable and capable platform both for beginners, and those who just want to create a semi-dynamic web page/site without the fuss and power of Dreamweaver. I found that it supported all the features I wanted to implement such as web-fonts, menu & site structure, footers, as well as embedded HTML elements (such as a Paypal button and Google Maps). The ability for my client to edit the text using a simple admin login is a fantastic feature and with the professional quality templates Muse offers*, even someone with only the basic knowledge can set up a fair substantial and functional site in a relatively short space of time.
Pretty much every tool did what I expected it to, but as a relatively advanced web designer and developer, my expectations were pretty realistic. I am very much looking forward to learning Muse on a level whereby I am confident enough to teach it to my students, because I am seriously considering shifting the basic HTML & CSS workshops to Muse. Students on my module don’t necessarily need to know the nuts and bolts of HTML in order to realise their projects so Muse is a viable alternative.
In case you are interested, the site I created can be found here: http://juvo-ab.co.uk/, It’s a functional business site so it’s pretty much static information that the client can change if she wishes.
Possible Web Project
I kinda ran away with this assignment and produced it before I watched the live class. I think I met the criteria of the brief with what I wrote above, but after watching the live class I think I should add a little about what sort of web project I might want to produce to demonstrate my learning with Muse, as well as the target audience for that project.
I had many ideas about the site I would like to work on while I participate on this course. One idea was to create a mobile version of this very AGP site for reviewing and participation in the other social aspects on-the-go. I chose not to pursue this because there’s too much dynamic content to make a static design work.
Another idea was to create a very visually interesting ‘welcome to University’ site for students who are in the process of joining my University. This featured much more static data making it a good choice to use for this course, but when it came considering the visuals, neither of the two options I had were particularly appealing. Firstly, I didn’t want to use photographs (as the current PDF does) because they get outdated very easily and are usually very clichéd. Secondly, creating a sites worth of graphical content requires far too much of a commitment, and for me right now, this isn’t an option.
In the end I have opted to recreate the site mentioned at the start of this reflection but focus more on developing it to take into account the advice side of the business which is not currently catered for. This advice section (and the rest of the site) will be much more visual and I will develop the graphics library I have started to produce for the business.
*Muse CC 2015 has removed the templates from the Welcome Screen but you can still find them here: http://www.musestarters.com/