Adobe has announced a public beta of a new website tool for graphic designers. Muse, according to Adobe's press release "enables graphic designers to design and publish professional, unique HTML websites without writing code or working within restrictive templates". The company claims Muse leverages the latest web standards including HTML5 and CSS3, where browser support exists, and "combines precise design and creative freedom with innovative frameworks for adding navigation, widgets and HTML to include advanced interactivity on a site".
The beta itself (and a number of Muse-created sites) is available at muse.adobe.com along with a number of videos from the creative team, showcasing Adobe's direction for this software. In essence, it's a web version of InDesign, with tools that will be familiar to users of Adobe's print layout tool. It includes site-maps, master pages and intuitive layout tools, and Muse naturally integrates with other members of Adobe's Creative Suite. However, in a nod to modern web design, there's also an emphasis on interactivity, often via drag-and-drop customisable widgets.
In one of the Muse videos, engineering director Joe Shankar claims the tool will "change the way websites are built, for graphic designers" and suggests the aim is to "focus on being creative, to express your ideas without letting the technology get in the way". Quality engineer Jason Prozora-Plein says this mostly means avoiding coding in any form. He argues that the overlap between people who are passionate about coding and graphic design is very small and that "people don't hand-edit Postscript or PDF files for print, and in five or ten years I don't think very many people will be coding to design websites".
What are your thoughts on Muse? Let us know in the comments.