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Taking Aim with AEM


Higher education institutions face a daunting demographic dilemma with their digital experiences. Perhaps more than any other organization, they must support the information and service needs of a wide spectrum of visitors to their websites and mobile applications.

From Millenial students and prospects, to GenX parents and professors, to Baby Boomer alumni and donors, each of these “customers” expects an engaging, intuitive and appropriate experience to meet their needs as they interact with the university’s programs, staff and events.  With a global footprint, multiple schools, many audiences and various stakeholders, NYU faces the same digital challenges all universities face, just at a very large scale and level of sophistication. Managing the significant amounts of content across their websites, mobile apps and social media channels for all users is a taxing technical task for the enterprise.

With so many different user journeys and possible conversion paths to consider, creating a consistent experience requires a well-crafted content strategy and user experience (UX) approach–from the first impressions of first-time guests to the perspective of frequent site users.  To make this possible and easy to maintain, it must be supported by the effective implementation of an enterprise-class Content Management System (CMS).

Working closely with internal NYU teams, DefinedLogic implemented and optimized the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform for the desired audience engagement, content automation and analytics, in order to deliver the right solution for this world-class institution.

Leveraging our extensive CMS expertise and higher education client experience, we supported the redesign of on the new AEM platform.


NYU selected AEM to centralize management of multiple websites onto a single platform. This allowed the university to utilize powerful new components across the consolidated sites while gaining development efficiency. It also streamlined the university’s content strategy by simplifying authoring and workflow processes.

Leveraging our extensive CMS expertise and .edu experience, we supported the complete redesign of, as well as the migration and redevelopment of NYU’s School of Dentistry website. Establishing a practical transformation roadmap required taking into consideration a future upgrade to a new version of AEM. We built new functionality compatible with future versions of AEM within the existing instance. This allowed us to take advantage of new templating language while delaying the need for full upgrade until NYU was ready.


Following testing of a prototype to confirm viability of our approach, we developed all relevant templates and components including data structure changes. All existing content was migrated to the new structure using automated scripts. The redesigned site offered a responsive design to support users on any size screen and utilized Yahoo UI for the responsive library. This effort included creation of more than 30 page templates and more than 40 components.


We built several applications on top of the AEM repository, including a Program Finder App to improve engagement with prospective students searching for courses at any of the NYU campuses. Program Finder pulls data from an external source and stores the content in a local AEM repository, allowing users to search for programs across subjects and locations. The search result returns exact matches as well as suggestions.

NYU Program Finder listing

The innovative Program Finder app was built on top of AEM, solutioned, architected, developed and tagged for deep engagement analytics by our cross-functional team.


Our expertise in the higher education digital space includes understanding how multiple audiences rely on .edu websites for the right information at the right time across extended customer journeys. For example, the information that a high school junior who just took the PSAT may be looking for is different from a high school senior filling out their application, or even an accepted student comparing courses and faculty. We have constructed a content framework to match communications with personas along the prospect-applicant-student-alumni lifecycle. We used this expertise to build a web analytics strategy for NYU.


Leading a global migration to centralized and consistent analytics tagging and reporting, DefinedLogic created a strategic analytics framework directly aligned with specific brand engagement metrics and business objectives. Our work has allowed the university to adopt a shared view of how various target audiences are engaging with the site, including conversion behavior and user flows. Leveraging the AEM framework and tag labeling taxonomy, we have provided implementation and an ongoing tag management guide.

Our partnership with NYU continues to produce, as we are now working with various schools to propel their broader digital transformation efforts, including road mapping, design, development, marketing, search optimization and analytics.

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