Muse is changing the way graphic designers look at web development. Adobe’s revolutionary new program Adobe Muse allows users to create great looking web layouts (and surprisingly clean HTML) with only a modest amount of graphic design experience. No writing code required!
With an interface similar to Adobe InDesign, Muse works more like a design program than an HTML programming tool. Using a simplistic front-end with familiar Adobe tools, you can create a high quality website in minutes. However sticking with default settings and built-in options will leave your design feeling stifled and rigid (and looking like thousands of other similar Muse sites)!
To stand out from the crowd of new Muse designers, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of Adobe Muse.
Use Photoshop to Create Objects:
Never underestimate the power of Adobe Photoshop. Many of the main elements on your site can be created using other programs and then imported, ultimately allowing you full creative control in your layout. Use Adobe Photoshop or a similar program to create text headers with custom blending options like drop shadows, embossing, color gradients, and 3D text. You can also create custom shapes, text boxes, and seamless background patterns that will add more creative flair than your default text and menu options in Muse.
Employ Web Fonts:
The “Web Fonts” listed in Adobe Muse allow you to use custom or commercial fonts on your websites. Don’t worry about sticking with “Web-Safe Fonts” anymore. New internet technology lets you use almost any font in a variety of ways, through font subscription services like Typekit (https://typekit.com/). Online servers store and download an optimized version of the font anytime someone loads your page, allowing you to choose from hundreds of potential fonts. Watch out Arial and Helvetica!
Use Drop Shadows:
Adobe Muse has a great drop shadow option that can be implemented on any image or smart object. Just a small shadow on a few objects or headers can add a tremendous amount of depth and texture to any layout. Make text boxes and embedded images pop off the page by blending in an opaque shadow — just be sure you don’t overdo it! And remember to save any text headers or custom shaped graphics that will be shadowed in .GIF format with a transparent background, in order to keep your text outline edges true.
Integrate Forms and Embeddable Apps:
There are a few great online tools which will allow you to add just about anything to your new website by generating code that you can easily paste into Muse as an HTML object. Sites like Nabble (http://www.nabble.com/) allow you to create forms, mailing list signups, photo galleries, and even discussion forums that will resize automatically and integrate seamlessly into Muse. Embedding these powerful third party apps can allow you to create an interactive site with real functionality.
Include Extensive Metadata:
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the most critical and most-often overlooked elements for new websites. For Muse designers, there are a few essential things you must do in order to help search engines find your site on the web.
Make sure that you included extensive descriptions of each page under the page preferences for each sub-page. Try to use relevant keywords in your description, but write a few sentences that describe the purpose of the page to grab attention in search results. This is the first thing that will appear under your listing on searches.
Write out detailed descriptions of each image on your site. Search engines like Google Images will pick up on relevant tags and put your site at the top of image searches. Be sure to include alternate text for each image with relevant keywords as well as descriptions and location.
Muse is changing the web development game. Any designer now has the power to create visually stunning and fully functional websites. Get in on the action, but make sure you are a step ahead of the crowd by implementing a few extra elements to give your designs that professional flair.
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