What’s the frst thing that comes to mind when you think of UX?
Interface Design? User Stories? Emotions? You can maximize those things through good design and programming but what about the design and programming of the services your app consumes?
What if you built and deployed a fantastic web app that users just loved but the cloud provider you picked started to cut corners and was randomly losing files? Or you built a social media app with push notifications that worked great for people in certain countries but not others? These are both definitely potential UX problems.
So what makes one API better than others? Three factors stick out the most to me:
Documentation – It has to be clear to the developers what the API can and can’t do. (Good, working, tested) code examples & debugging functionality really help too.
Robustness – If the API goes down all the time, doesn’t work in certain areas, doesn’t use common standards & protocols, doesn’t adhere to any sort of SLA,, this will impact your users in a very negative way.
Clear roadmap – New Feature’s are great and all but old ones should be deprecated well. Facebook was famous in the past for knee-jerk changes that constantly provided developers (read: users) headaches.
So what’s an example of an API that is delivering great UX? I’d say Twilio is one of them and I’ll use Airbnb‘s implimentation as an examle. Airbnb uses Twilio to anonymously connect hosts and guests during the reservation process. Not only does this provide for a great experiences in terms of privacy,but it’s easy, you’re connected faster than dialing it yourself, and the call quality is always excellent. Every time. That to me us good UX delivered through an API. (See their documentation and status board for additional proof as well)
When developing your next app remember that UX isn’t just limited your software and design. It’s also the APIs, vendors, and services that you work with.
What are some examples of APIs with Good UX? Bad UX?