Providing a great developer experience is important for any company with open API’s, frameworks, SDK’s or Developer tools.
For those who are unfamiliar with what is developer experience then for them in simple terms it’s called DX. Developers are to DX what users are to UX.
User products or consumer products are made for consumption while Developer tools are made for developing things.
Developers are going to be impressed with your ability to help them get their job done faster.
API as a product is an interesting technique that keeps evolving.
Today’s applications and services are built by interconnecting a network of APIs. The developers are the users of those APIs. So using user experience techniques like usability testing and user research to API development ensures it to be a joy to be used.
The key goal should be to reduce the amount of time it takes for developer to be productive with your API. Developers intrinsically want to deliver value and they want to deliver it fast.
There are many steps during the API integration process where you can lose a developer.
For example Slack has designed a developer experience that minimizes the drop-off rate at each step of this process. A developer’s relationship with Slack begins when developer first visits Slack Developer Website. Website highlights the API’s functionality convincing a developer to sign up.
The process of then getting started is fast. You will find a link to a quickstart guide. Slack then supports you while you build your integration through excellent API reference documentation, Tutorials & technical support. Slack’s entire API integration process is designed to help a developer quickly become productive with Slack API.
Although there are several ways to create a great developer experience I have described some of the ways you can take to create a great developer experience :
Signing up should be fast. Only ask for essential information on sign up form. This is important because research has shown that increasing the number of fields on a Sign up form increases the drop-off rate.
Soon I will becoming up with a blog post on best practices for sign up forms.
Developers will love you for ease-of-use because by doing so you allow the developer to do their job faster and, in turn, you enable the company to complete the project cheaper. By creating a quickstart guide, developers will have a quick win that encourages them to keep building their integration.
Have self exploratory resources at hand. The more you invest in developer resources, the less one-one support is needed. Documentation should enable a new as well as experienced developer to find information quickly. While creating a developer documentation you must think ways to unblock a developer for example if a developer is blocked, he or she should have access to the necessary information to get unblocked as fast as possible. Documentation is where developers will be spending most of their time on your site. It should explain how to make a request and how a response is formatted.
List out error messages/codes to a solution & explanation. Developers will first turn to Google when your API returns an error, so you want your API reference documentation to show up in the search results.
To increase sign ups, it is an important to answer why should a developer use your API. Developer site should describe the key features of your API. Site should have real-world examples of how companies are leveraging your API.
Code Samples & Tutorials
Time To First Hello World is one of the most important metric to measure the success of a developer platform. Offering code samples and tutorials for your API will speed up development time.
Help Center or FAQ & Technical Support
Always look for ways to make APIs more useful to developers and to make the developer experience easier and rewarding. Developer site should have Feedback or Bug reporting forums. To provide excellent support for developers, make use of email or live chat support to answer developers questions. Track what questions are most frequently asked, and write posts for these on the FAQ section of your developer website. In addition to supporting the developer community by answering technical questions, it is important to have a channel for feedback.
Developer tools/SDK’s/API’s providers should regularly update their Developer tools/SDK’s/APIs, striving to continually close any gaps between what they offer and what developers need in order to innovate & help developers.