Adobe Muse: how it will change (and won’t change) the web design industry
This post is intended for web design students, print designers and clients in need of web design.
The word “web site” has become an ambiguous term. Everybody thinks they need a web site and no two web sites are exactly the same. When a new web site project is being discussed, clients and print-designers may both be at a disadvantage. Clients may not know what they want or don’t know what questions to ask. Print-designers might over or under bid a site, bite off more then they can chew, or many times don’t give themselves enough credit.
With the release of Adobe’s new web design product, code name “Muse,” later this year (see the video), clients and designers will feel the impact. However, new software and technology still takes time to learn and work its way into the main stream. It’s really hard to say what’s going to happen, and even the most experienced people don’t always make accurate predictions. But here are a few thoughts for all of us to consider.
Adobe muse is web design software for print designers
Don’t get excited – yet. You wouldn’t hire an electrician to do the job of a plumber, so why would you hire a print designer to build a web site? Always remember that software is just a tool. With print design software, you still need to understand how a commercial press, or screen printing, or any other fabrication process works including its limitations. And if print designers are going to build websites, they should take the time and learn to understand cross browser compatibility and more importantly, mobile website design or responsive design.
One thing I know for sure is that small design shops that lack in-house web development are going to jump all over this. Besides learning this new medium, I encourage these print-turned-web-designers to understand that they are now building interfaces. And interface design comes with it’s own best practices and psychological factors, similar to print, but carry much more weight in the area of interface design. It’s no wonder colleges are starting to sprout degrees in a new field titled human computer interaction.
Something else to keep in mind is that everything is shifting into the digital realm. While students and clients are concerned about “building websites” which is totally justified, let’s not forget about the other projects out there. ALL print media such as brochures, magazines and advertisements will need to move into the digital realm. There is already a proliferation of digital marketing campaigns, landing pages, and online periodicals that are not a traditional web site, but are the next generation of graphic design projects. Adobe Muse will mostly likely be the bridge for small design shops and fresh-out-of-school freelancers to keep operating and servicing their clients as they normally would.
Adobe muse cannot deliver a custom CMS
(content management system)
Call me a heretic, but I think, some business would probably do just fine without a website. There are a number of small restaurants for example, here in Frederick, that don’t have a website or the site is so ineffective they may not have one at all. They have plenty of customer traffic due to their location, through word of mouth or other marketing efforts. Small, local businesses that don’t put much stock in a web presence will get along fine with the small design shops and freelancers using Adobe muse, or having a company Facebook page, or just being listed in the Internet yellow pages.
But what about all the other businesses out there that really take their website seriously? If they really want to get the most out of a website, by today’s standards, they need rich, interesting and relevant content. And it needs to be updated as often as possible within reason. On top of that, businesses that have large numbers of products, articles, staff, or whatever they are trying to manage on their website can’t really be calling a small design shop or a freelancer everyday for updates. The costs would be astronomical. They could benefit from Adobe Muse, possibly, by the fact that talent fresh out of college, or designers with a background in print, might be able to deliver better quality websites. These new hires could be in charge of managing the company’s website, with Adobe Muse, similar to how they would manage a large publication in Adobe InDesign. This is an option, but may not be the most efficient method depending on the company’s needs and goals.
There will still be a hugh demand for websites built on Content Management Systems. After people ask me, “how much does a web site cost,” the second question ninety-nine percent of the time is, “how can I update my website?” Apparently clients expect to be able to update their own web site and this want, or for some businesses this need, is not going to go away. Typically, small designs shops and freelancers won’t be able to deliver customized and tailored CMS solutions, with or without Adobe Muse, to the larger companies that need this. Either the small design shops and freelancers will have to outsource, or the client will need to hire directly, a professional freelance developer or web development firm – and the means good, old fashioned web programming and coding.