Adobe Muse vs XD: Which is Better?

Adobe Creative Cloud represents a product family elaborated for website development, graphic design, photo, video editing, etc. For site-designing purposes, the most interesting apps are Adobe Muse and Adobe XD. It should be mentioned that using Adobe is quite a specific way of creating an online store or a blog. Its main feature is that you are sure to need to use other Adobe apps to run an effective website or mobile app just the way you want it.

In our opinion, there are other more independent solutions with the help of which one can go through the entire process of making and launching a special-purpose site. However, our goal is to present you with both Adobe Muse and XD because many web developers use these programs, and surely, these products have strong points. So, let’s observe the key characteristics and compare them to have a clear vision of this soft.

Adobe Muse vs XD: General Overview

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Muse is a downloadable program from Adobe that allows designing and publishing websites code-free. The first thing you need to know about Adobe Muse is that the company has not supported the application since March 2020. This means you cannot download its latest version from the official site or expect any updates for the soft in case you already have it on your desktop.

Still, Adobe Muse is used by web designers who got accustomed to this program. It is enough for them to combine its functions with other Adobe applications like Dreamweaver or Photoshop. Once it was added to the Adobe platform, Muse offered a rich set of advanced tools for creating adaptable websites from zero-ground. But while its competitors have been growing their functional powers, Adobe has been slowing down in updating the program. And now, it is fully outdated compared to other products available in the market.

Adobe Experience Design or XD can be seen as a modern analog of Adobe Muse with an improved functional set but without the option of developing sites with code. Since it was elaborated for building designs and prototyping, this program helps to create interfaces for desktop and mobile sites and mobile apps. To build a site from scratch, you will need to plug in other Adobe software to your work, but the same is true for Adobe Muse.

When using XD, you do not need coding skills, although knowing how to code can be useful here. Like with any Adobe program, you should know how it all works. That is, you must understand which design solutions you will realize in your project and how to do this with the help of Adobe XD instruments. The soft might be hard to hack for a newbie to web design, while experienced web designers are sure to master the app fast and love its options and ease of use.

So, take Adobe XD as a much better alternative to Muse. With prototyping, responsive resizing, ready-to-use artboards, and other important features, XD is a great modern app for web designers actively using Adobe Creative Cloud products. While you can expect appropriate updates for XD, Muse has become history.

Adobe Muse vs XD: Which One Is Easier to Use?

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In terms of usability, Muse and XD are quite similar, which is natural for one company’s products. An important remark here is that both programs are easy to learn and easy to use for web designers familiar with Adobe products. When you do not use Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, and other apps from the platform, you will need time to get into the working process with Muse and XD.

Many would assert that Muse is a pure drag-and-drop instrument. And we agree with such a view. When it first came to the market, the main idea of Muse was to let users create simplistic websites easily and fast – without a coding headache. This is the key problem of the app. With a simple project in mind and Adobe ecosystem knowledge, you can make do with Muse even today, and it will be very easy for you to work with the soft.

adobe muse editor

XD is made with previous experience in mind, so its interface is easy-manageable. It offers templates for different devices as well as customizable artboards. Its starting window is as user-friendly as that of Muse, although the XD set of features is quite broader. Both apps have excellent, easy-to-use pen tools and vector instruments. So, why would you spend more time working with Adobe XD? Because it gives you more options, that’s it!

Adobe-XD-editor

In other respects, the Muse and XD interfaces are equally intuitively-run. But since Adobe Muse is discontinued now, integration with other Adobe apps can be questioned. XD is sure to beat Muse since XD keeps in step with all the recent Adobe innovations and allows working with any of them without any trouble points. You can expect seamless integration with good old features of other Adobe Creative Cloud products when using Muse. But it may not support some of the important functions that have been added recently.

To sum up, we would recommend using XD instead of Muse because you cannot expect excellent usability and integration from an instrument that has seen no updates for 2+ years. And there won’t be any, remember this, but both apps are easy-to-use in their own functional areas.

Adobe Muse vs XD: Design and Flexibility

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Although Muse and XD have the same or similar features, they are substantially different in a couple of things. So, we do not compare similar instruments, one of which is better and another is worse – we compare two different apps with similar capabilities, each with strong and weak points.

Prototyping

You create a website prototype to let your clients know what it will look like and how everything will work on it. So, your prototype should usually be able to present dynamic content and such likes features. Adobe Muse and XD support prototyping, but your abilities with each app will, of course, be different.
As for Muse, be ready for a powerful enough tool. It will allow you to export ready-made pages in several formats and build prototypes via Muse. Its instruments include scroll effects, motion, and animation tools. You can control opacity as well as supply your prototype with slideshow features. All this is simple to do while working with the Muse fade-in effects might take time as you will need to experiment with values to find the right combination. Other Muse features for prototyping include:

  • assigning classes to elements;
  • inserting an HTML code into the page itself or the;
  • providing pages with anchor tags;
  • using breakpoints to make the prototype pages adaptive;
  • exporting .html and .css files.

There’s no layer animation library and no features for working with masks. These and many more features can be found in Adobe XD. It implements more complex tasks like prototyping a social photo and video app, a game with an interactive menu, various charts, shopping widgets, and many more. Its rich functional set allows you to:

  • use Repeat Grid to duplicate lists, galleries, etc.;
  • add depth and 3D motions to your prototypes thanks to the 3D Transforms feature;
  • build layouts with fully customizable colors and styles;
  • make components switch and hover in any way you wish;
  • add toggles and re-usable buttons;
  • change content sizes and places;
  • import/export content from/to Sketch as well as from/to After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and other Adobe apps;
  • use multifunctional vector drawing, font, and background editing tools;
  • combine layers and images to create a blending effect;
  • use pro audio/video editing tools like Auto-Animate, Voice Prototyping, Anchor Links, Scroll Groups, and many more.

The above list is far from the complete presentation of what XD can do for you. It’s obvious that the winner here is the XD prototyping tool.

Components

Building a component is easy with both Muse and XD. Muse has all the basic components a web designer might need in the first place. These are geometrical shapes, text boxes, picture placeholders, slideshows, etc.

XD, in its turn, offers not only a wider choice of adjustable elements but also more options for adjusting them. You can easily create menus, buttons, modals, charts, forms, and whatever, choose layers for these elements and animate them. Each successful pattern can be saved and reused. The program supports a single library, from which all the created components can be shared across the Adobe Creative Cloud platform.

Extensions and Special Features

In this chapter, it could have been enough to say that Muse was a great app in the past, while XD would be a feature-rich app with as many extensions as one would need these days. But let’s have a more detailed view of them both in this respect.

Surely, the plugin and in-app extension abilities of XD are much wider than those of Muse. As for special features, the Muse instruments do not seem too fresh anymore:

  • Some designers criticize Muse’s bulleted/numbered lists function, but it does exist.
  • You can add downloaded/purchased fonts thanks to self-hosted font support.
  • There’s a reCAPTCHA tool for spam protection.
  • All elements support right-to-left languages (like Hebrew or Arabic).
  • Image Task Shortcuts will let you easily replace images, change backgrounds, etc.
  • Contact form checkboxes like T&Cs, signup newsletters, etc.

All this is not a problem for XD, with a little proviso that XD does not offer lists. But you won’t have trouble adding them using other Adobe instruments or similar soft. On the other hand, in the XD environment, you will have far more options thanks to such handy specialties as:

  • Repeat Grid and other auto-saving instruments;
  • Cloud Document History;
  • Hundreds of plugins supported for working with bulleted lists, charts, and many other elements;
  • 3D Transforms to make elements move in whatever way you wish;
  • Auto-animation tools to let you finally command the fade-rise effect;
  • Improved Pen Tool to draw and edit vector images even easier and more.

What you should also bear in mind is that Muse does generate web-ready code, while XD can’t do this. This is the only aspect where XD cannot replace Muse. But when aimed at this specific feature, Muse might not be the best solution, so you’ll need to search for an adequate alternative anyway.

Template Editing

From a template perspective, Muse isn’t anywhere close to the XD capabilities. Yes, it has built-in templates. They are not bad for working out a subtle design. You do not need to code anything. Just add widgets, buttons, and other components to your chosen template with the help of the drag and drop mechanics.

adobe muse page template

But all of this is common for today’s web design programs. XD is sure to offer you many more UI kits template usability and customization options. The best XD templates represent packages for creating a website, an app, a blog, or whatever. Your template may support several pages, home pages included, with a choice of styles for a blog, image portfolios, etc. They will fit any screen and work with such resources as Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, etc.

Resume

So, take any design aspect, and you’ll see that XD beats Muse. Its only benefit is code editing options. But the initial idea of Muse was to let users avoid coding, and today its toolkit is absolutely out-of-date. XD is not an authoring but a designing instrument that easily integrates with other website builders and design editors. So, you can build, customize, and publish a website using the XD functional capabilities together with other Adobe apps.

Adobe Muse vs XD: General Pricing Comparison

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Muse support was stopped in 2020. So, you cannot purchase the app from the Adobe store. But you can still employ it if you have downloaded and subscribed to it earlier. The mont-billing plan for Muse was $24.99, and there was a 7-day free trial. The app was available for an all-app subscription, too.

Adobe pricing policies remain almost the same, and you can purchase the XD app only or within a 20+ app package. The XD-only plan will cost $9.99 a month. There’s a free version with limited options and a 7-day free trial with all options included. A subscription to all the apps of Adobe Creative Cloud is $54.99 a month. Besides XD, this package incorporates indispensable programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, and more.

Adobe-XD-Pricing

Adobe Muse vs XD: Which One Is the Best for SEO

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Muse has not had a single update since spring 2020. So, its SEO tools are obsolete and not enough for today’s website-building challenges. You will be able to input such metadata as webpage titles, descriptions, headers, keywords, etc. But do not expect much from the soft.

As for XD, the program is all about web design. SEO tools are absent here, but XD has solid integration abilities. This means you can integrate it with another app that allows site-building from scratch in general and SEO management in particular.
So, it’s up to you to decide what is the best solution. Muse will let you build a simple site with SEO options enough to start up. Chances you’ll need to use a side app anyway. So, in our opinion, using XD with access to a bigger number of plugins and add-ons is the optimal variant in this respect.

Muse vs XD Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?

Both Muse and XD are Adobe products. When having any experience of working with Adobe apps, you understand that both require complex usage of at least the company’s most precious programs like Illustrator or After Effects. So, why use an outdated soft? The Muse time seems to have gone: although it supports code exports and SEO, these tools cannot be regarded as adequate solutions in today’s reality.

XD is a multifunctional, integration-strong application with great potential. It has all the modern instruments for web design. In combination with other Adobe and non-Adobe instruments, XD can become your easy-manageable and all-equipped solution for site development. There might be worthy, more independent competitors to XD, which you will find more convenient (especially when you are not intended to use any Adobe soft.) However, when we compare Adobe Muse and Adobe XD, the latter is a sure winner in this race.

Howard

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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