Why I love ADOBE MUSE
Hey Wix and Weebly are cool...if you want to use their tools--and perhaps be limited by them. But its even cooler to make your own websites and have more control over where and how it gets hosted. Hey I love Google Sites where I can embed assets, quizes, and post real-time data using sheets...super cool for sure, but as a teacher and designer, man I wouldn't trade Adobe Muse for any of these other programs, and for a number of reasons:
1. Muse is a visual design program in the same manner of the previous three web site building tools I mentioned. Like these other programs, it lets the user work with visuals that the program later converts into code. However, what's different about Muse is that it generates the files you need to make a website, and then the user has to learn to load them onto a server. For my students, managing files on a server is a great lesson in computer science. My students learn how file names work, how web browsers work, how they can host multiple web sites through files hosted on a server.
2. While Muse is visual, it allows you to drop in code. As a result, my students begin tinkering with code to get their web designs to do things Muse can't. Somewhere on the web, someone is working through the same problems my students are working out. In this way, my students learn to look for these affinity spaces.
3. Muse lets you see the topography of your site designs. (See Below) When my students can see the non linear progression of a site, I think it makes their web designs that much more creative. We are not just building web sites...we are building web applications that the provide tools for the user.
4. As educators teaching students how to learn technology, we can easily provide scaffolding for Muse by teaching other design programs, and at the same time, we can teach Muse to scaffold for the next program. The most important thing we can do when we teach digital making is not to teach the tool themselves, but to teach how we learn new tools. Tools will change, but the skill of learning how to learn technology is something that will last a student's lifetime.
For the Better Clemson App, we build for 320 screen size (standard for mobile phone design) and used a common :font, Gil Sans 36-point headings and Gil Sans 24-point text. In this way, our various designs have parity when a user moves from one project to the next. We built mobile-first designs because this app is intended to run off of the ubiquitous computing technology, thus drawing the user into spaces and places. I require students to include external video, audio, and other widget features offered through Adobe Muse to create tools for users.
Stephen Quigley is a PhD student in Clemson