Latest features in Muse CC 2014

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Latest features in Muse CC 2014

Muse has only been around for a little over 2 years. In that time it has turned into a nice tool for designers that want to quickly and easily put together websites, using an interface that is familiar to anbody that has used programs like InDesign.

Muse isn't designed for people who want a powerful shopping cart systems, or extensive content management capabilities, or those looking to build the next eBay or Amazon. It is perfect though for designers who want to apply their design skills to building relatively simple websites without having to learn code, allowing you to include features like drop down menus, social media integration, contact forms, google maps integration and more.

The Muse CC 2014 release brings with it some nice new features, and makes this easy to use package more useful than ever. We thought it would be useful to give a list of features added to Muse since the initial CC release.

be useful to give a list of features added to Muse since the initial CC release.

Muse CC (2014.3) - Feb 2015

Usability and performance improvements

Work with content-rich sites more easily. Common workflows and everyday design tasks — from planning and designing to previewing and publishing — are now smoother and more intuitive thanks to dozens of user-requested enhancements. Updates include faster performance with page editing and loading, image rendering, and more.

Show and hide frame edges

The objects and text frames you place on your design canvas now have a light-colored outline to make them more visible if a stroke or fill hasn’t been applied. The outline can easily be turned off and won’t appear when you preview or publish the site.

Secure FTP auto-detection

Adobe Muse makes it easy to publish your site securely by automatically detecting the right credentials for your hosting provider and selecting the most secure publishing option available.

HiDPI support for Windows

In addition to support for HiDPI Mac Retina displays, Adobe Muse is now optimized for HiDPI Windows machines such as the Microsoft Surface Pro, resulting in a crisper interface and graphics.

Muse CC (2014.2) - October 2014

SVG import

Place or copy/paste Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files directly into your Adobe Muse layouts. They can be resized in context without losing quality, and they’ll load fast and look sharp even on HiDPI displays.

Text synchronizing across desktop and mobile

Type text once and use it in multiple places — on one web page, multiple pages, or even across desktop and mobile layouts. When you edit the copy, it updates everywhere while maintaining the styles and attributes of each instance.

Secure FTP support

Adobe Muse now offers SFTP and FTPS support for more secure publishing.

Find and replace

Use the Find command to search for words or phrases, and then replace that text across all pages plus desktop and mobile versions of your site while retaining the applied styles and effects.

Muse CC (2014.1) - August 2014

Self hosted web fonts

Add the fonts you've purchased and downloaded from foundries and services to the Adobe Muse font menu for use in your site designs. With web fonts, the text is selectable, searchable, and scales dynamically with the browser zoom level for more typographic control.

Bullets and Numered Lists

Create bulleted and numbered lists with a single click. Choose from a variety of bullet styles, characters, and icons. Access full character sets, such as punctuation and math symbols. And fine tune line height and spacing using typographical controls.

reCAPTCHA spam protection

Keep your contact forms free of automated spam with Google’s reCAPTCHA, a free service that uses text and number distortions to distinguish humans from spam bots.

Contact Form Check Boxes

Designers can now add checkboxes to contact forms using the Contact Forms widget options menu, which can be used to add a Terms of Use requirement, newsletter sign-up, and more.

Right-to-left language support

Create sites, specific pages, or text containers, using right-to-left languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew. Text boxes and other elements such as social widgets will default to the language selected.

Image task shortcuts

Right click to perform common tasks when working with images, such as replacing an image, swapping out a background, or pasting an image in place.

Muse CC (2014) - June 2014

Rebuilt with 64-bit support

Ok this first one isn't a new features as such, but it does make Muse faster and more performant than before. One of the few problems I have encountered with Muse was some months back when Adobe had an outage on the Creative Cloud login system. Most of the other apps like Photoshop or InDesign just opened fine and carried on working, however Muse wouldn't even open and it appeared the old version needed to connect to the login server just to be able to launch. I understand the rebuild fixes this problem, as well as making the program more performant. This rebuild also means you can take advantage of the latest web browser and operating system updates such as Mavericks OS X, as well as new hardware like high-resolution Retina displays.

Editing content in Adobe Muse

In-Browser Editing updates

The new release of Muse CC 2014 allows site owners to make minor updates to their live site in a web browser, not only when it is hosted by Adobe but also when it is hosted with another ISP. You can then sync these updates with your original Adobe Muse files ensuring they aren't overwritten next time you update the site.

The In-Browser editing currently has some limitations. It allow users to edit text and change images, however it doesn't support more complex changes such as editing master page content, editing images set as background fills, changing form buttons, or altering rasterized page items such as images with rounded corners or rotated text frames.

Despite the limitations this is a useful features and hopefully one Adobe will build on in the future, enabling support for other features within Muse.

Creative Cloud Add-ons

The new version allows you to download Muse starter files and other design elements such as navigation menus and buttons. These can be saved in your Library panel to use in your designs, and as the range of available assetts grows this could become a useful resource.

Muse Interface Settings

Adjustable User Interface

Now you can set the brightness of your workspace, just like in InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator, allow you to select from one of four themes from light to dark. When you choose the darker themes the Adobe Muse canvas remains white allowing you to focus on your design, instead of the interface.

Customizable workspace

Bringing Muse in line with the rest of Creative Cloud you can now customise your workspace the way you want. You can undock and re-arrange your panels, as well as view different layouts side by side, allowing you to work on a desktop and mobile version of your site all at once.

Control slideshow height

In the 2014 release you can now control the height of a full-width slideshow. Images display fully to the right and left edges of the browser window, and can now be set at a fixed height, whether you're viewing on a desktop or mobile device.

Other new features

There are also a number of smaller, but still useful, updates made in the 2014 release. A 100% Width Toggle button for turning on and off elastic 100% browser width behavior; the ability to cut, copy, paste, or replace background image fills from the right+click context menu; a Replace Image menu option in Design view; and quite a bit more.

Muse CC (v7) - Nov 2013

The Library panel was added

The addition of the library panel allows you to collect design elements like icons, stylized buttons, widgets and typographic elements. The Library panel then lets you reuse these in other projects, and share them with other designers.

Muse Social Media Widgets

Introduction of Social Media widgets

This is a great addition to Muse, allowing you to drag and drop a range of different social media widgets onto your pages. These include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest buttons, interactive Google maps, Vimeo and YouTube videos and more. Social Media integration is a must these days for even smaller sites and this functionality is not only a great addition to Muse, but very easy to use.

Improved Scroll Effects

With the updated Scroll Effects panel you can now choose from even more scroll effects options, these include the ability to apply opacity and fading to scroll elements; and add scroll effects to Adobe Edge animations and slideshows.

Slideshows can be Full-screen

You can now set a full-screen slideshow that adjusts to the width of the screen, whether viewing on a desktop or mobile device.

Muse CC (v6) - Aug2013

Addition of the Scroll Effects panel

The new Scroll Effects panel now lets you work with scroll effects more efficiently. Additionally Scroll effects will now work more smoothly on tablets and smartphones, including iPhones and iPads, and you can set menu items to highlight when scrolling past matching content, making long pages easier to navigate.

Muse CC (v5) - June 2013

Adobe Muse Forms

Forms Widget

The Forms Widget lets you publish forms to sites that are not hosted with Adobe. This can be used to quickly add contact forms, either simple or more complex forms.

Layers panel

The addition of the layers panel lets you get finer, more precise control when designing with multiple elements on a page.

Vertical text support

Vertical test support lets you create top-to-bottom and right-to-left text, this is especially useful for Japanese and Middle Eastern language sites. Other features include additional user interface languages, the ability to assign metadata to master pages, the ability to expand and collapse child pages in Plan view, and more.

Muse CC (v4 and earlier)

Spelling checker

You can now Check Spelling and confirm words are spelled correctly throughout your web site.

Enhanced: Master pages

You can define hierarchical master pages (masters based on masters, like in InDesign) , as well as control the positioning of master page elements such as headers, footers, logos, and navigation on individual pages.

Enhanced: Slide shows

Increased control over slide transition speeds, as well as the ability to choose whether to turn off swipe touch support for slideshows viewed on mobile devices. Adobe Muse Accordian Panel

Enhanced: Tabbed and accordion panels

Just like in DreamWeaver you can create tabbed and accordian panels (without having to write any code), these are useful for organizing lengthy information in visually appealing, bite-size chunks.

Enhanced: Preview your designs

The enhanced preview lets you see how your designs will look on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet before publishing. What's more you can preview portrait and landscape orientations for mobile devices.

Touch-enabled interactivity

Allows you to take advantage of mobile viewing by hyperlinking phone numbers to automatically dial when tapped or email addresses to open emails with the "To" address already filled in. This is particularly nice for visitors on tablet or mobile devices.

Gesture-enabled widgets

Muse widgets that are used in your tablet and mobile designs have enhanced usability with touch gestures, such as finger scrolling or page swiping, automatically converted for use in such devices.

HTML5 animations

If you are looking to take you site a bit further you can now create HTML5 animations using Adobe Edge Animate, and Simply place the file on the canvas within Muse, and preview the action in the Preview mode. and more.

Summary

For a product that is only two years old, Muse is becoming very mature with an increasingly wide range of features and options.

Since I have been delivering Muse courses I have come across a wide range of people using it and two scenarios seem to come up more often than others:

The first is people looking to create nicely designed websites that don't require more advanced functionality like shopping cart sites or database driven capabilities.

The second is designers who are using Muse to mockup / prototype new sites. Where this was previously done in something like Photoshop, it can now be done just as quickly in Muse, but with the added benefit of working menus, social media widgets, slideshows etc..

Either way Muse is a capable solution. Will it remove the need for web developers, content management systems etc.. No.

Does it offer existing designers a nice use friendly way to create clean, functional, easy to use websites with nice functionality and without having to get involved in code. Absolutely.