Designer Insights: Web Design Trends & Adobe Muse

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Evangelists evangelize. That’s the job. But when they use and value the tools they promote it’s, well, much more believable.

Before becoming a design evangelist for Adobe, Rufus Deuchler was a full-time designer (who was also hand-coding in 1995). We asked him to think back to when he first started using Adobe Muse CC and to also offer a non-web-designer perspective about the features in the innovative Creative Cloud desktop app.

What he had to say:

RufusHOW_1How do you, as a designer, feel about Adobe Muse and its ability to help you execute on good web design? Back in 1995 I was coding websites by hand. Admittedly, it wasn’t my calling but it had to be done. I used various apps to make my life easier (GoLive CyberStudio, which was later bought by Adobe; and Dreamweaver, when it was still Macromedia)… then along came Adobe Muse. It changed everything. Not only did it eliminate the need to code by hand, it also made so much sense to me as a designer; the interface and functionality is so similar to Adobe InDesign CC that it immediately felt familiar. It took the coding out and put the design back in to creating websites.

What do designers need to understand when translating print design concepts to the web? How can Adobe Muse help with that? Many print design principles apply to web design—composition, type size, figure-ground relationships—and Adobe Muse makes it super easy to transfer print design skills to the web. As a matter of fact, quite a few InDesign engineers contributed to the initial development of Adobe Muse; it’s why the metaphors (page sizes, columns, grids, even the tool set) are so similar. Knowledge of InDesign CC makes practically everyone a Muse ninja.

RufusHOW_2How does Adobe Muse take into consideration designing for multiple screens? We consume an enormous amount of information on mobile devices, but websites are still being viewed on the desktop. And Adobe Muse gives designers the ability to create unique experiences for any size screen. Desktop, tablet, or mobile phones… any device can be used as a starting point for design, and because it’s possible to link content between layouts it’s very easy to recreate pages for multiple screens.


Thanks to scrolling on mobile, the creation of “single page” websites isn’t waning. How can Adobe Muse aid in the creation of those interfaces? One page sites are really compelling when they give the audience the information they need when they need it, especially on mobile where they eliminate the need to navigate to other pages. Muse offers multiple ways to aid viewers in navigating and exploring (page anchors, rapid returns to the top of the page, scroll motion effects). It’s important, though, to remember that download speeds are an issue in most of the world and to optimize for the complexity of the artwork and motion effects.

Although bandwidth continues to increase to support them, what’s the most important thing to remember about incorporating full-screen images and video on websites? Optimization is hugely important and a key component of user experience. Image and video loading should never leave people waiting—even full screen background images and videos need to be optimized. My personal rule is test, test, test until I find an acceptable balance between file size and quality… then go for that. All too often I simply abandon a website because assets are loading too slowly. It’s a problem that can easily be avoided.

What did you say when you first saw Adobe Muse? The first word that came out of my mouth: “Exactly.” It was exactly what I’d been looking for…. The wait was over.

Attending HOW Design Live? Adobe will be there. We’ve got a lot going on, and Rufus is part of it with a session titled You Can Do Creative Work on Mobile Devices.