Design with developer empathy
When it comes to APIs, developers are your users. The same principles of user-centred-design apply to the development and publication of APIs (simplicity, obviousness, fit-for-purpose etc). Most of the other criteria in this guide are traceable to the principles of good design. Perhaps the most important criteria to be mindful of is simplicity: as with any other product, people simply won’t use something if it is hard to use.
- Hard-to-use APIs create bad public policy outcomes:
- Potentially significant economic value will remain undiscovered or unrealised
- Secondary markets that form around APIs (e.g. automated tax reporting software) will be less competitive, and therefore less efficient (API complexity creates barriers to market entry)
An API that is consistently rated as hard to use should be remediated. Ensure less than 20% of feedback rates the API as hard to use.