What is API User Experience?

According to ISO 9241-210, User Experience, or UX, is “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service”. Additionally, Wikipedia has a broader definition, covering many aspects of the way users interact with a system:

[UX] involves a person’s emotions about using a particular product, system or service. User experience highlights the experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system. — bolds added by me

So, if APIs are, by definition, Application Programming Interfaces, API User Experience can be defined as follows:

API User Experience, or API UX, is a person’s perceptions of the utility, ease of use and efficiency of an application API that result from its direct or indirect use. API UX covers two major types of users: developers, who benefit from direct use of APIs and end-users, who use APIs indirectly through consumer applications.

photo by Thomas Hawk

UX has grown in importance over the years because it not only defines the perception of users, but also affects how customers interact with products, and ultimately how they contribute to the commercial success or failure of companies.

API User Experience should receive the same amount of importance because today most applications expose functionality as APIs and most people end up using APIs embedded in other applications, without even knowing it.

That’s exactly what will be covered here: from opinion articles, to product reviews and guidelines, expect to see this place as a reference for everything related with API UX. Make sure you get in touch if you’d like to contribute with articles and ideas.

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