Make a Clean Handoff Between Design & Development When Implementing Adobe Experience Manager

AEM | July 10, 2018

When an organization embarks on the redesign of their customer experience across digital touch points, it often finds that it will need to re-platform on a modern digital experience management solution. Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) does this and delivers the vision for compelling customer experiences across channels.  

Design teams typically spearhead the full-scale redesign of the customer experience, while IT teams oversee the re-platform. It is critical to promote a smooth transition of a project from experience design to platform implementation.

Here are some tips for promoting a smooth transition. It is crucial to ensure design team and IT partners a clean handoff between creative and technical development processes.

Bring People Who Know About AEM Into the Design Process

User experience redesigns often revolve around the needs of the users and the desires of designers. Sometimes, experience design teams will take a purist approach. In this case, only considering site design and layout in the context of users and design. Doing this intentionally removes platform considerations from the process.

With enough coercion, AEM and web technology can be bent to do just about anything. But, it is not recommended if you are concerned about managing a timeline, budget, and/or complexity.

For enterprises launching a new experience on AEM, it is highly recommended that someone knowledgeable about AEM review the emerging designs. This review should be during the wireframe stage to discuss the implications.

By reviewing wireframes, you may be able to point out small changes in the designs that could have big impact in reducing cost and complexity for implementation. Doing this, you could prevent a negative impact on front-end user experience.

Know When to Start Development

There is one recurring question that commonly arises from both the design and IT departments. Within a complete site redesign and re-platform project on AEM, when can development begin? Usually, it is safe to begin the design and development efforts when the design team finalizes user experience (UX) wireframes.

An implementation team will then be able to discern the overall site structure, navigation, and inventory of AEM templates and components. The team will be able to leverage these templates and components either out of the box, extended, or developed.

With wires in hand, a worthy implementation team should be able to create an implementation and rollout plan. Even while the design team works on user interface (UI) design, back-end work can begin in parallel. This work may include: setting up environments, firming a build process, configuring AEM, and building base templates, components, and integrations.

Write Requirements for User Experience and Author Experience

This is a big one. In traditional web experience projects, requirements created against UI designs focused on the user interaction and back-end integration. When writing requirements for AEM, it is critical for design and implementation teams to recognize that there are two interfaces for which an experience needs to be designed.

There is of course the front-end user experience, the flashy one that gets all the glory. There is also the authoring interface accessed by business users within the enterprise. AEM provides a powerful and flexible authoring interface for content authors to produce and publish web experiences, and it needs to be considered when writing requirements.

When writing those requirements in the creative and technical design portion of a project, pay attention to authoring terms. For each AEM component that will need to support the front-end, consider the requirements from three perspectives: front-end user experience, back-end integration, and author experience. Doing so will ensure that AEM is more than a CMS for rendering content to users. It will ensure that AEM becomes a toolset that designers need to drive their design outcomes.

iCiDIGITAL Can Help!

When implementing Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), it can be difficult to have a smooth transition between design and development. iCiDIGITAL has plenty of project experience dealing with AEM and would love to help with any issues or concerns you might be experiencing. Feel free to get in touch with us!

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Mark Kelley is a member of the Executive Team at iCiDIGITAL. In his role as VP of Digital Engagement, he helps enterprise clients align marketing and ecommerce technology with business goals. He works with clients like Ingersoll Rand, NASCAR, and Panera.