Recently, Video2Brain released my newest training title, Getting started with Muse. I’m very pleased, through this blog post, to talk a bit about Muse, the title itself and share some video excerpts from the training (just to whet your whistle).

What is Adobe Muse?

Simply put, Muse is a tool to help you build very engaging websites, visually, without having to worry about the code that makes a web site.

Designed by engineers from the Adobe InDesign team (Adobe’s pro-level page layout tool), Muse employs an easy to understand workflow for designing a web site (Plan > Design > Preview > Publish > Manage) and utilizes a great deal of drag and drop capabilities, pre-built widgets (for navigation menus, slide shows, etc) to make the process of web site creation easy, fun and fast.

Customizing a menu bar widget in Muse

Customizing a menu bar widget in Muse

My personal take on Muse

I think Muse is a great tool to introduce students of all ages and skill levels to the power of designing a web site; a “gateway” tool, if you will, that helps any creative professional not experienced in web design build beautiful, engaging websites, focusing on design and not code.

Muse gives every student – every visual or textual communicator – the opportunity to easily build a web site they are proud of. Early success, as I like to put it. Some say this flies in the face of professional web design as a profession but I disagree; I say it can spark early interest in students because they can see their ideas – their vision – come to light sooner and by their own hand. They own that website, because they built every piece of it.

Creating an interactive wireframe in Adobe Muse

Creating an interactive wireframe in Adobe Muse

And I say this having taught in Higher Education for more than 20 years. Teaching students who need to understand the web design process and the importance of communicating online in a professional manner, but at the same time, students who would not be planning to become professional web designers. At least not at the outset of their education.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that if I was still teaching my Advertising and Journalism students, I’d have been pushing my college to let me use Muse for their web design components. Let them get bitten by the web design bug and see where it takes them. Get them interested to do more, asking themselves, “If I can do this now, what cool things could I do if I learned CSS, HTML and JavaScript?

Just like helping students gain early success in applications like Photoshop, by using filters, or simple but powerful features like Quick Selection or Content Aware Fill (or even video editing, now in Photoshop CS6), helping them realize their visions often produces far more interest and engagement than forcing them to struggle through foreign concepts like HTML, only to produce a basic, simplistic site that they have no interest in showing anyone.

I’m not in ANY way belittling the importance of understanding code. Having designed sites for companies large and small, I know how key this comprehension is in the professional world of web design. But Muse can be a tool to inspire. That’s how I see it, anyway.

What’s in my training?

My approach to my Muse training title was to give a solid, basic and practical overview of much of Muse’s capabilities. By the end of the 4.5 hour course, you learn how to use Muse to build a wirefame, a website, and how Muse integrates with both Fireworks and Photoshop for creating web-ready images, and how to publish that site to either a Business Catalyst hosting account, or how to FTP the complete site to your own domain.

Adding and manipulating  in a Muse web page

Adding and manipulating in a Muse web page

Here’s a breakdown of what the training includes, lesson by lesson. I’ve also included links to several free lessons, so you can get a sense of how the course flows.

  • What is Muse?
    • The Adobe Creative Cloud
    • Installing Muse
  • The Muse Interface
    • Interface Overview
    • The Welcome Screen
    • The Design Screen
    • The Preview Screen
    • The Publish Screen
    • The Manage Screen
  • The Design Screen
    • The Toolbar
    • Using the Control Panel
    • Advanced Features of the Control Panel
    • The Paragraph Styles, Text, Swatch, Fill, Asset, and Align Panels
    • The Widgets Library, Spacing, States, and Wrap Panels
    • Using the Design Screen
  • Planning a Website
    • The Importance of Wireframing
    • Reviewing the Finished Wireframe
    • Setting Site Properties
    • Setting Page Properties
    • Using a Master Page in a Wireframe
    • Adding New Pages to a Wireframe
    • Adding a Menu Widget
    • Configuring the Menu Widget
  • Designing the Master Page
    • Adding Background Images
    • Adding Icon Image Elements to a Navigation Bar
    • Customizing the Footer Section
    • Adding and Customizing the Footer Navigation Bar

  • Working with Content
    • Adding Text
    • Editing Text
    • Creating Paragraph Styles
    • Wrapping Text
    • Adding Effects
    • Adding Hyperlinks
  • Integrating with Photoshop and Fireworks
    • Placing Photoshop Files
    • Editing Photoshop Files
    • Placing Fireworks Files
    • Editing Fireworks Files
    • Optimizing Graphics
    • Using Photoshop or Fireworks for High-Fidelity Prototyping
  • Publishing Your Web Project
    • Previewing a Web Project
    • Publishing a Web Project
    • Updating a Published Site
    • Managing a Published Project
    • Exporting as HTML
    • Using FTP with Muse
    • Creating a Simple Contact Form

Wrap up – and a bonus!

I’m very excited about this course and I hope you’ll check it out. And as a thank you for reading this entire post, here’s a special discount code you can use if you decide to purchase my introduction to Muse. You’ll save 20% off the purchase price by using the code below. But don’t delay; the discount is only good until March 8, 2013.

Discount Code: MUSE20

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