Graphic designers and other creatives with a strong aesthetic sense often lack the gene responsible for coding, and vice versa. For this reason, designers have to cooperate with developers to have their designs manually converted into valid code. ‘If only there was a program allowing to design websites in a code-free manner’, – many designers wondered. Tada! Meet Adobe Muse.
This program was exclusively developed for designers who want to create functional artworks without fiddling with codes/hiring a developer. The very fact that this piece of software has the Adobe name attached to it, deserves your attention.
#1 Ease of Use
Because this website builder was developed with the needs of professional designers in mind, it may seem fairly complicated for non-designers. Unlike Do-It-Yourself website builders, it does require prior experience of graphic design. Take a look at the editor – there are 5 toolbars each hiding more options!
Compare the editor to a typical DIY site builder:
All in all, Muse looks, performs and feels just like any other Adobe product. So, if you happened to work in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop, the interface won’t scare you away. Adobe Muse employs the drag-and-drop editing principle which also simplifies the creation process.
#2 Feature Set and Flexibility
Because Adobe Muse is primarily meant for graphic designers, it provides an impressive design toolkit. This is the key difference between Muse and DIY site builders. Those using site builders like Wix and Weebly have to upload ready elements, while those using Adobe Muse can draw them directly in the program.
Building a website with Muse starts with defining your site map. When it’s ready, you can start designing your Master page. This page will hold parts of the design that you’ll use on every page of the website. This is a very clever solution to a common problem.
Once you have designed your pages, you can start adding widgets. There’s a list of free widgets that you can find in the editor, and an impressive library of third-party extensions. Widgets are configurable and styleable components that you can adjust to match your site style.
Speaking about core features, here are some of the most recent additions:
Text synchronizing. If you use the same copy throughout your website, you no longer need to edit each place where it’s used. With this feature, all your edits will automatically synchronize across your site. Additionally, you can take advantage of the Find and replace feature to search for words and then replace them across all pages including the mobile version.
Thousands of premium web fonts from Typekit and self-hosted web fonts. Users can add fonts they’ve purchased elsewhere to the Adobe Muse fonts menu. Also, they can add fonts from Typekit directly through Adobe Muse – no worrying about embed codes or licensing. Browse quickly by family, classification, and more. You can then use these fonts even when you’re offline.
Right-to-left language support. Users can create text containers, specific pages, and entire sites using right-to-left languages such as Hebrew and Arabic.
Blogs, storefronts and more. New Adobe Muse third-party widgets let you add an online store, integrate and style a blog from literally any blog service like WordPress or Tumblr, add photo album carousels, and more.
Adobe Muse has no ready-to-use templates – Muse gives you a blank canvas, which means you’ll have to design headers, navigations, buttons, footers and more from scratch. While that’s okay for designers, it can be a burden for other users.
The good news is that there are many designers who create and sell templates tailored specially for Adobe Muse.
Adobe Muse features best templates providers on the Resources page. Some of the highly-trusted resources for Muse designers are Muse-Themes, MuseFree, Musegain, and museGrid among other approved providers, some bringing entirely free design resources including graphics, time saving starter templates, and other library files.
#4 Customer Support
There’s a Customer Care Page, forums and an impressive knowledge base at Adobe. There are video and written tutorials detailing each single step of building sites with Adobe Muse.
Additionally, there’s an entire ecosystem of third-party highly creative tutorials to help you dive deeper into advanced design techniques.
#5 Pricing Policy
Adobe Muse is available through a Creative Cloud single-app or complete membership with the option to choose between a month-to-month ($24.99/mo) or annual plan ($14.99/mo). If you are not an Adobe Creative Cloud user, you can download Adobe Muse free of charge and use it during a 7-day trial.
It’s important to note that not all Adobe Muse widgets are free. For instance, if you want to add a blog feed to your site, there are both free and paid widgets. For instance, the Medium Blog Feed widget is free, but Flickr Slide or WP Blog Embed are paid (both cost $6).
Once you are ready to take your site live, you have a choice — you can either host your site using a third-party hosting provider or host with Adobe.
Adobe Muse is undoubtedly a great help to people who don’t code. However, we think it has a very small potential user-base. With web design, you need graphic design skills, motion design skills and understanding of how to create interactions.
In our opinion, professional graphic designers are more likely to team up with developers and other specialists to create complex projects. This leads us to conclude that Adobe Muse will be mainly used to create small static websites focused on visuals, rather than feature-rich sites, though Muse makes it possible to add a blog and eCommerce.
Comparison with Competitors
Muse ins’t the only player in the field of code-free tools for designers. The biggest competitors of Muse are Wix, WordPress and Webydo, hosted web design suites specifically developed for designers. Read our in-depth comparison articles to see the difference:
Are they any better than Adobe’s product? It all depends on what you need.
Adobe Muse Website Builder Review: Conclusion
Adobe Muse allows designers to create and publish websites independently from developers. Perfect for simple, static websites with a focus on design.
Meant for professional designers, Adobe Muse provides a wealth of graphic design features. It places a heavy emphasis on letting creative professionals do what they do best – design. But unfortunately, Adobe Muse lacks many built-in extensions that you can find in competing services. Designers can certainly find them among Muse Resources, but that makes the process less streamlined.
The feature-heavy interface of Adobe Muse makes it ill-suited to the regular customer. If you just want to quickly build and publish a simple website, Adobe Muse isn’t the best solution. There are many less sophisticated, more streamlined drag-and-drop site builders for easy site creation.