Ah, good times! Being the nasty little gnome that I am it gives me some weird pleasure to report two quite noticeable fuck-ups this week.
First, the one you probably haven’t even heard about yet – Lytro is finally doing everyone a favor closing its doors for good. Of course they make it sound all positive on their own blog, but the simple truth is that nobody wanted their half-baked product(s). If in a day and age where movies easily cost 200 millions to make nobody could be bothered to buy their super-expensive Lytro cinema camera then this speaks louder than any of their fancy marketing talk. Where did they fail? The obvious and equally simple answer is: price. Yupp, they apparently couldn’t find a way to fabricate their expensive sensors at a cost that would be compatible with mass markets. Sounds familiar? Yes, exactly, that’s what’s going to happen to all that VR nonsense in a few years, too. Unless something miraculous happens and someone comes up with a 100 dollar independent VR set that doesn’t require a PlayStation or a beefy computer, a few years down the road we’ll probably be talking about the shutdown of Oculus et al just the same.
The other S.N.A.F.U. that makes a lot more waves and has everyone talking is Adobe giving Muse the bullet. Aside from the fact that for a company active in the media industry they are really shitty communicators when it comes to their own policies, the actual hang-up here is how a lot of people feel left out in the cold. This is of course a multi-faceted issue with a lot of things being good and bad at the same time. One of those is for example that it allowed users to create websites visually, but at the same time many of those users probably should have found other hobbies. I could of course go on endlessly about issues with code generation, technical issues or the program never being able to do certain things despite a shit ton of widgets and third-party services built around it, too.
Ultimately, and I guess now I’m getting near a point, those are factors that only make it logical that eventually the product would get axed and all the petitions in the world to keep it alive won’t changed that. Yes, static web pages are a thing out of time and as Adobe say in their own FAQ, services like Wix, Jimdo and even WordPress do a pretty decent job of offering website hosting without having ever to get your hands dirty. Are they perfect? Far from it, but honestly, I often wondered why people who merely needed a simple info page for their small business even bothered with Muse. I’m far from being a sophisticated web designer and only put up with such stuff to help out people I know, but even I always try to talk people out of the complications of running their own sites and refer them to those services.
Another thing that people also need to get into their heads is that web design is not necessarily financially lucrative these days. Unless you yourself can offer specific services, run your own servers or continually update a web page, you don’t make much money by just designing it once. there’s a stiff competition out there, which funny enough includes many of those pre-hosted services. That’s a harsh truth many Muse advocates also need to come to grips with – you couldn’t expect Adobe to basically let your web page run forever basically for free with the stuff included in Creative Cloud and at the same time complain about pricing, lack of features or competitors offering better service. You simply can#t have it both ways.
With all that said, not all is lost. Reading between the lines adobe obviously have a plan for being a part of the web design community, it’s just not clear what this is going to be. With Dreamweaver having been on a steady decline, too, due to its outdated technological basis they may take the chance to create a completely new web design program, amalgamating features from Muse and DW, but then again they could just as well on a completely new web service. Either way, it’s probably safe to say that Muse is dead for good and people should leave it at that. You know, it’s al labout business and Adobe are not going to change their mind…