Talk about Adobe today and it won’t be long before the words ‘artificial intelligence’ march in the direction of the conversation. From the introduction of Generative Fill in Photoshop to the roll-out of the game-changing Firefly, the creative software company has gone all in on AI.
Now, Adobe Experience Manager Sites, the company’s enterprise-focused CMS tool, is set to gain all new capabilities and AI tools designed for faster iterations, improved site performance, smarter monitoring, and hopefully increased rankings.
But what’s really new in Adobe Experience Manager Sites and what’s it all about? We spoke to Jamie Brighton, Director of Product Marketing EMEA at Adobe, about the latest update and what it means for businesses.
Ranking higher, delivering faster
When it comes to website builders, speed is important. Site performance is, after all, one of the first things a user is going to experience when visiting a company’s online portal.
Speaking to TechRadar Pro, Adobe’s Jamie Brighton, explained: “This slow, generic experience doesn't engage customers. So, if [the business] are successful in acquiring a visitor to the site, they will not get that customer to engage if the experience is slow to load or doesn't stand out from the competition. And we find that the people who are in charge of actually creating content find it very difficult to actually quickly create and update experiences.”
To help combat this, the latest update to Experience Manager Sites goes hard on increasing site performance, in a bid to boost SEO rankings, traffic, and conversions for users. This includes continual real-user monitoring, optimized boilerplate code, phased page rendering which loads a webpage’s most important elements first, and persistent caching to prevent content loading delays when initiating design or code changes.
Web content optimization is also on its way, with new built-in experimentation tools designed to let teams test and iterate experiences to find the optimal design. This, the company said, goes beyond the traditional A-B testing most marketing teams are familiar with.
Explaining the tools, Brighton said: “The optimization and experimentation capabilities of Experience Manager Sites means that authors are very easily able to create multiple different versions of the landing page experience, or any experience on the site, and the system is going to use the metrics that it's collecting to actually understand which one of those is performing best for a given set of business metrics or site metrics. And then we can start serving that best performing option either in an automated way or we can manually swap out the best performing option of a particular page and move on to the next kind of testing.”
For businesses, the results should see higher traffic conversions, and user personalization and satisfaction scores.
“We have direct examples from organizations where just the challenge of actually building an experience to support a new product limits the amount of new products that they can actually bring to market in any given period of time,” said Brighton, “Which clearly is the wrong way round in terms of being able to be agile. So, we’re reimagining Experience Manager Sites as an application that will enable organizations to deliver these high impact experiences.”
Also high on the agenda is content velocity. As Brighton explained: “Part of the new set of capabilities is what we're calling expanded authoring, which is really bringing the ability to our customers to author and create content wherever they want to. And one of the major areas of focus is just do that from the tools that they're really comfortable with, like Word, Google Drive, and Google Docs.”
The company has found that much of the content workflow starts in those tools before being added to the CMS. It’s an inefficient process - and Adobe thinks it has the solution: not by forcing users to use unfamiliar platforms, but by integrating existing workflows into the AEM platform.
“We believe the focus and the onus is on us as a technology company to make it easy for the organization to just have their authors create content where it makes sense for them,” said Brighton. “Whether that's directly through the WYSIWYG interface of Experience Manager Sites or through things like Microsoft Word or Google Docs That means that we're providing a real kind of flexibility of authoring.”
And then, of course, there’s the artificial intelligence offering. Adobe Experience Manager Sites is part of Adobe GenStudio, which addresses the rising demand for content that brands face. Adobe Firefly, also part of GenStudio, now has new capabilities to let users create content that adheres to brand-specific guidelines.
“Probably the biggest news is the model customization capabilities,” said Brighton. “This is enabling brands to bring their own brand identity into Firefly, into the creative generative AI models. So, brand style characters and objects that are related to the brand. Then, when your team is using Firefly to create imagery, it's not only taking into account the models that have been trained on the kind of general. [It is] also taking into account things that it understands about the brand. So, that is going to be a massive time saver.”
It’s not the only improvements Adobe has made to its AI tools, either. Announced in the run-up to Adobe Max 2023, the company has announced three new models for its AI art generator.
Adobe Firefly Image 2 Model improves on the previous version for generating commercially-safe content, and now features support for text-to-image generation in the web app. The latest Design Model is built for creating fully editable templates in Adobe Express. While the world’s first genAI model for vector graphics - known as Firefly Vector Model - will be capable of creating text-to-vector images in Adobe Illustrator.
You can try the new Adobe Experience Manager Sites by clicking here.
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Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.