AEM 6.0 - Embracing Authoring Experience Design

24 November 2014
Nedim Dedic
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Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) was recently updated and as a result, there is a lot of excitement and a great deal of activity here at Cognifide around AEM 6.0.

Our R&D team has been buzzing with excitement and our tech ninjas have been busy taking a close look.

As our clients have been asking more and more about AEM 6.0, we have been becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about it.

As a leading Adobe partner, we’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the beta programme and have seen this major version come into being. We've been recognised by Adobe for our outstanding contributions in part because, particularly when new version are released, we are always focused on learning and being able to deliver the best solutions for our clients.

Simplifying the world of content management and digital marketing for our customers is what we love do. Design with mobile in mind is our mantra, not only from end user perspective, but also the users of the system – the AEM authors.

In a nutshell, here at Cognifide we really care and devote a lot of attention to the authoring experience.

However, projects are driven by the needs of our clients and because typically in projects priorities change, the authoring experience can slide down the list of priorities.

Time pressures, budgets, fuzzy requirements, an occasional lack of alignment with UX, could all result in reverse engineering of finalized HTML structures provided and sometimes somewhat of a retrofit into the AEM framework.

These are just some of the challenges projects can face.

We also often find that the priorities in projects naturally go towards securing a delivery of functionality for the end users, often at the expense of implementing a great authoring experience.

AEM 6.0 now offers Touch UI as the default interface for Authors. What does this mean?

Touch UI,  (or Responsive UI – to be more descriptive) has been a subject of a great deal of debate in the AEM community. This debate is very colorful. If you observe it from the outside, it seems like some people love it, whilst others still need some convincing.

This is a very natural response when new feature and new ways of working are introduced to an established framework such as AEM and this is not unique to Adobe in the world of software.

Touch UI represents a major upgrade to the AEM user interfaces, and comparing it to the glimpse of the new interface that was introduced in the previous version of AEM (AEM 5.6), a great deal of progress has been made.

Touch UI is now getting into a position where authors are able to use it for some clear authoring use cases, such as workflows such as approvals and complete authoring tasks end-to-end.

“For now Classic UI rules!” -- this is what some of the purists say. The picture is clearly not as simple as that, as the UI variants clearly complement each other.

Clearly, AEM’s Touch UI interface is causing a debate, but one thing is clear, it is here to stay.

Touch UI is not going away and it is already a hot topic of conversations and ideas around how it can be further enhanced and used.

At its most rudimentary level, Touch UI tells us what it is and what is important. Touch UI is all about extending the content management process by creating some interesting use cases.

For example, approval workflows on the fly, content tweaks on the go, making content management features easier to access on mobile and touch enabled devices, will undoubtedly allow marketers to work in potentially new and smarter ways.

It’s important too, to note that the new interface is currently aimed at wide screen displays only, due to its responsive nature. This is something that Adobe will probably be looking to solve with the ever continual fragmentation of screen sizes and resolutions of the variety of portable and new touch-based devices out there.

The introduction of Touch UI, by the builders of AEM builders implies how important it is to embrace authoring experience design.

It is clearly
Adobe’s vision of authoring and a clear direction (this is even made clearer within the Creative Cloud Suite).

On the digital marketing front, Touch UI is offering potential new avenues for digital marketers to explore.  It presents a new level of opportunities to the digital marketing content process and may contribute towards making it more efficient.

Whether you are an advocate of Classic UI or Touch UI, you have to develop authoring experience solutions with Touch UI in mind, if you wish to use AEM to it’s fullest.

This means that in AEM 6.0 making sure that authoring experience works in Classic UI is a pre-requisite, and that it cannot be bypassed as a consideration in project planning.

Bypassing the authoring experience design in projects is not an option any longer, and designing great authoring experiences is a very valuable investment wherever it may lie in the list of priorities for potential clients.

For Adobe, it is a vision of something that feels natural, looks beautiful and puts content management at your fingertips like never before. Adobe wants us to enjoy orchestrating our digital channels with AEM 6.0 Touch UI - anywhere, faster and more intuitively.

This is why here at Cognifide we are embracing it and making the investment in making sure that our market leading accelerator Zen Garden for AEM 6.0 is fully compliant with the Touch UI.

For doubters, don’t worry Zen Garden works fully in Classic UI too, and of course being Zen Garden, great authoring experience come out of the box.