Don’t Abuse Adobe Muse

I purchased my one year Adobe CC student subscription in the fall of 2014. As I was scrolling through vast list of programs I had leased, I noticed a new member of the Adobe family. After about 4 minutes of research I learned which group of users it targeted. Adobe Muse is a WYSIWYG web design tool intended for graphic designers to create websites without having to know how to write HTML/CSS, or even basic JavaScript. After discovering what Muse offered to the world of web design, I couldn’t help but think back to the days of the Yahoo GeoCities page builder.

Yahoo Site Builder

(Yahoo Site Builder) Image courtesy of

In the mid to late 1990’s most suburban teenagers with an internet connection had one or more sites hosted on GeoCities. The problem with that trend was that people (myself included) were not learning how to write markup properly – if any at all. Sure Adobe Muse looks much more modern, and is designed with the modern web in mind. But is it doing anything new or special? Others, and myself included feel that Adobe Muse could be a small step backwards for web design.

In Craig Grannells’ investigation ‘Developers Respond to Adobe Muse‘ Grannell states that:

However, those web designers and developers we spoke to have reacted in horror at Muse, not least to claims made in Adobe’s marketing videos. Due to the layout-based nature of Muse, the commentary makes a big deal about the app not requiring coding knowledge; worse, it almost seems to belittle coding, arguing web designers won’t code at all in years to come, and maintains the overlap between ‘coders’ and ‘graphic designers’ is small.

In the GeoCities days it wasn’t uncommon to load a page, and have your eyes seared by a yellow background color with hot pink 10 point underlined text. By no means are there any signs that Adobe Muse will be used as frequently and poorly as the Yahoo SiteBuilder of the 1990’s, but it is important to understand that Adobe Muse is not an ultimate solution to building web sites.

Arron Bailiss among other web developers reasoned that using Adobe Muse as a layout wireframe tool is a good application for the program. Designers can express ideas in a non-static medium which developers can refine using a stack of proper front end tools, alongside standards and conventions to create robust web sites.

Over winter-break I built a web site with Muse and launched it as my portfolio page. However, every night when I went to bed I felt guilty for not hand coding the web site. As I learn more about the modern state of front-end web development the guilt of abusing Adobe Muse grows stronger. Therefore I am currently re-developing my portfolio page. I will use Adobe Muse as a prototyping tool, but not a full development solution.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Abuse Adobe Muse

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