AEM Authoring Challenges and Tips to Overcome Them

Jul 26th, 2023 | Kavita Mhaske

In the digital era, businesses aiming to engage and retain their customers must deliver exceptional online experiences. Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) has developed into a powerful content management system (CMS) that empowers enterprises to design, control, and deliver personalized and captivating digital experiences across multiple channels. While AEM offers a robust platform for content creation, it also presents certain challenges for authors and content creators.

AEM, developed by Adobe, enables businesses to improve collaboration, standardize across various touchpoints, and streamline their content creation process. AEM authoring is crucial to the success of digital efforts, contributing to everything from content creation and editing to asset management and personalization. Mastering the art of AEM authoring unlocks the potential to leverage AEM's rich features, such as component-based content creation, content reuse, and seamless integration with other Adobe marketing tools.

In this article, we will explore several common challenges that authors and content creators encounter when using AEM. I'll also provide valuable tips and tricks to help overcome these challenges. By directly addressing these obstacles and acquiring effective strategies, authors can unleash the full potential of AEM authoring and effectively offer experiences. This will result in smoother content creation, enhanced collaboration, deliver personalized experiences, and boost your SEO efforts. Embrace the following strategies to maximize your productivity, reduce development time, and ultimately provide your audience with exceptions and captivating digital experiences through AEM.

Common AEM Authoring Challenges and Tips to Overcome Them

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a powerful content management system (CMS) that offers robust authoring capabilities. However, like any complex system, it comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some of the common AEM authoring challenges and tips to overcome them.

  1. Complexity of the interface: AEM has a feature-rich interface with numerous options and configurations. This complexity can be overwhelming for new users and require some time to learn and navigate effectively.
  2. Tip: Start with a structured approach: Familiarize yourself with AEM's basic concepts, utilize available documentation and tutorials, begin with small tasks, utilize built-in help features, join online communities, and consider attending training courses. By following this systematic approach, you can gradually overcome the initial learning curve and navigate AEM's feature-rich interface more effectively.

  3. Content fragmentation: AEM allows content authors to reuse and repurpose content across multiple pages and channels. However, this flexibility can lead to content fragmentation, where similar content is stored in different locations, making it difficult to maintain consistency and manage updates.
  4. Tip: To overcome content fragmentation in the AEM authoring process, implement a centralized content strategy, utilize content fragments and experience fragments for reusability, use content references instead of duplication, and establish content governance practices.

  5. Difficulties in asset management: AEM offers extensive digital asset management features, but organizing and finding assets within a large repository can be challenging. Without proper metadata, tagging, and categorization, authors may struggle to locate the assets they need quickly.
  6. Tip: Implement a comprehensive metadata strategy by defining key attributes, standardizing fields, applying metadata consistently, and utilizing advanced search capabilities, ensuring authors can quickly locate assets in AEM.

  7. Responsive design challenges: AEM supports responsive design, allowing content to adapt to different screen sizes and devices. However, creating and maintaining responsive content can be complex, especially when dealing with complex page structures or interactive components.
  8. Tip: Maximize AEM's potential by using "Responsive Preview" to visualize content on various devices instantly. Fine-tune responsiveness further by mastering browser inspect tools. Educate yourself on responsive best practices, prioritize progressive enhancement, and iterate content regularly for a seamless user experience.

  9. Performance optimization: As a comprehensive CMS, AEM has many features and functionalities that can impact performance. Authors need to be aware of best practices for optimizing page load times, reducing server requests, and optimizing caching strategies to ensure a smooth and responsive user experience.
  10. Tip: Firstly, ensure images are optimized by checking their size before uploading, and avoid overloading a page with too many images. Collaborate with the development team to implement caching, compression, and lazy loading of images, all of which contribute to faster load times. To identify performance issues, you can utilize Chrome Developer Tools, analyze page performance, and address any image-related slowdowns. By following these, you can enhance the overall performance of your AEM-powered websites, leading to happier users and improved engagement.

  11. Integration with external systems: AEM often needs to integrate with other systems like customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, or e-commerce platforms. Integrating these systems can be challenging due to differences in data structures, authentication mechanisms, or API compatibility.
  12. Tip: To overcome integration challenges in AEM's authoring process, focus on understanding the requirements, leveraging available connectors or APIs, considering middleware solutions if needed, performing data mapping and transformation, implementing strong authentication and security measures, and thoroughly testing and monitoring the integration. Your ability to seamlessly integrate AEM with external systems can be improved by working with capable AEM implementation partner like Initialyze.

  13. Upgrades and maintenance: AEM regularly releases updates and patches, and performing system upgrades can be a complex process. Authors may face challenges during upgrades, including compatibility issues, migration of customizations, and maintaining backward compatibility with existing content and functionality.
  14. Tip: To ensure successful AEM upgrades and maintenance, it is crucial to stay informed, test in a non-production environment, review and adapt customizations, develop a migration plan, implement backup and version control, and actively seek community and support resources.

Best Practices for AEM Authoring

When it comes to authoring content in Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), there are several best practices you can follow to ensure a smooth and efficient workflow. Here are some of the best practices for AEM Authoring:

  1. Understand the Content Structure: Before you start authoring in AEM, take the time to understand the content structure, component hierarchy, and metadata requirements. This will help you organize your content effectively and ensure consistency throughout the site.
  2. Plan Content Reusability: AEM provides powerful content reuse capabilities to improve efficiency. Plan your content structure and component design in a way that promotes reusability. Create content fragments or use experience fragments to modularize your content, making it easier to maintain and update.
  3. Leverage Content Policies: Content policies allow you to define rules and guidelines for content authors. Use content policies to enforce consistency and ensure that authors follow predefined guidelines. This helps in maintaining a consistent look and feel across your website.
  4. Create User-friendly Components Dialogs: Create user-friendly dialogs for AEM authoring by involving the authoring team during the design phase. Provide clear instructions and labels, and use appropriate validation to guide authors in filling out the required fields to enhance the authoring experience.
  5. Optimize Component Performance: While authoring in AEM, consider the performance implications of your components. Avoid excessive use of complex or resource-intensive components that may impact page load times. Optimize images and other media assets to reduce file sizes and improve performance.
  6. Use Inline Editing and Drag-and-Drop: AEM offers powerful inline editing and drag-and-drop functionality. Encourage authors to utilize these features as much as possible. Inline editing allows authors to make quick content updates without navigating through multiple pages, while drag-and-drop simplifies content placement and reordering.
  7. Leverage Workflow and Review Processes: Implement workflows and review processes to ensure content quality and accuracy. Set up approval workflows to review and approve content before it goes live. This helps maintain content integrity and reduces the risk of errors or inappropriate content being published.
  8. Provide Adequate Training and Documentation: AEM is a feature-rich platform, and providing comprehensive training and documentation to authors is essential. Conduct regular training sessions to familiarize authors with AEM's capabilities, best practices, and any custom workflows or components specific to your implementation.
  9. Monitor and Analyze Authoring Activities: Keep track of authoring activities through AEM's auditing and analytics capabilities. Monitor content updates, user actions, and user feedback to identify areas for improvement. Analyzing authoring patterns can help optimize the authoring experience and identify any bottlenecks or challenges.
  10. Regularly Update and Maintain AEM: Stay up to date with AEM updates and patches. Regularly update your AEM instance to benefit from new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements. Maintenance and regular updates help ensure a smooth authoring experience and mitigate any potential issues.

By following these best practices, you can enhance your AEM authoring process, deliver high-quality content, create engaging digital experiences for your audience, and overcome common challenges.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) presents its share of challenges for authors, but with the right strategies, they can overcome them. By investing time in learning the platform, utilizing available resources, and understanding its functionalities, authors can improve their efficiency. Establishing clear content governance guidelines and workflows ensures consistency and collaboration. Creating modular and structured content helps manage fragmentation and maintain content integrity. Performance optimization techniques such as caching, image optimization, and code minification enhance AEM's speed and responsiveness. Ongoing monitoring and maintenance are vital to ensure optimal functioning. With perseverance, learning, and the adoption of best practices, authors can conquer AEM authoring challenges and deliver exceptional digital experiences that drive business success.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with AEM authoring, we are here to help. Our team is well versed in AEM and its capabilities, and we would be delighted to address any queries you may have. Simply get in touch with us, and we’ll provide the guidance and support you need.

To learn more about our Adobe Experience Manager services, please visit our Adobe AEM page. Our comprehensive services encompass everything from implementation to customization, ensuring that you can harness the full power of AEM for your organization’s digital success.