Why Must You Consider Developer Experience (DX) in Your API Strategy?

Nicholas Gimenes
November 13, 2023
min reading time

Today's digital landscape hosts numerous Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), reaching the thousands. In this competitive landscape, standing out requires a strategic focus on creating a developer-friendly atmosphere, improving user experience, and developing a robust API strategy

Acknowledging that an API's success is closely tied to its ability to attract and retain developers is crucial. To achieve this, providers should build partner ecosystems marked by responsiveness, accessibility, and user-friendly interfaces, enhancing the appeal and effectiveness of their APIs. 

This goes beyond basic functionality, requiring a nuanced understanding of developer needs for a lasting competitive edge. Therefore, actively fostering a positive Developer Experience (DX)  and leveraging effective API lifecycle management tools becomes a key factor in the current API scene, where providers must surpass expectations to excel in the evolving digital landscape.

Number of APIs Cataloged in ProgrammableWeb

Developer Experience

In the report "Status of APIs 2019" prepared by Sensedia in collaboration with PwC, it is revealed that more than 57% of large companies leverage APIs to enhance the value proposition of their products and services, promote innovation, or broaden their partner integration network.

The data reinforces that API connectivity is not merely a technological concern but rather crucially enables new digital channels and businesses.

Expected benefits of APIs

Developer Experience

In the same report, we also identified that the three main criteria for desiring to consume an API are:

  • Performance/Availability (73%)
  • Ease of Use (63%)
  • Security (61%)
Developer Experience

This reinforces that there's no point in creating good APIs if developers don't use them because they find the documentation and developer onboarding too complicated or don't receive answers from support or feedback. Taking care and measuring Developer Experience is essential for the success of your API strategies. 

“We want to treat the experience of our APIs as Apple treats the experience of its products.” - David Ruiz, Paraná Banco.

While Developer Experience (DX) is vital to the success of API-based businesses, 32% of companies with surveyed APIs are making no effort in developer engagement.

Developer Engagement Efforts (External/Internal)

Developer Experience

What if It’s Just Internal APIs?

Suboptimal user experiences can result in significant time and resource wastage even when limited to internal APIs. Developer Experience (DX) may opt to reconstruct components to avoid utilizing such APIs or expend excessive effort understanding their proper usage. 

APIs characterized by excellent Developer Experience (DX) mitigate the need for rework and repetitive tasks, fostering increased productivity and hastening time-to-market.

So Why Don’t Companies Care for the Developer Experience (DX)?

“Companies that take APIs seriously should care about Developer Experience (DX).” - Amit Jotwani, Amazon.

The reality is that IT teams responsible for API governance and development frequently lack the capacity to allocate sufficient focus and resources to various essential activities, including:

  1. Improving the developer onboarding experience and usage of APIs;
  2. Maintaining up-to-date and accessible documentation;
  3. Offering support for a substantial user base;
  4. Collecting metrics to derive insights and addressing feedback.

Developer Experience

Sensedia DX – Enhance API Usage Through Clear Onboarding, Documentation, Support, and Insights

Sensedia offers a specialized Developer Experience (DX) solution to enhance external and internal developers' API consumption satisfaction, thereby saving resources for your customers' IT teams and promoting the adoption of proper DevOps practices. This involves a series of activities, including:

  • Establishment of a customizable Developer Portal integrated with the API platform, featuring a sandbox for API testing, automated documentation, and easy access.
  • Developed design and UX enhancement for the Developer Portal.
  • Planning the developer onboarding process.
  • Regular documentation updates.
  • N1/N2 level support availability.
  • Analysis of monthly metrics and reports to facilitate continuous digital experience improvement.

developer experience

Sensedia customers enjoy several key benefits from this service, including the ability to:

  1. Conserve team resources for addressing other critical business issues.
  2. Promote increased API consumption.
  3. Enhance onboarding efficiency and integration with reduced errors.
  4. Heighten user satisfaction.
  5. Expedite innovation and reduce time-to-market.
  6. Maintain updated and accessible documentation consistently.
  7. Implement real-time monitoring and generate periodic reports for valuable insights.
  8. Assure the application of Developer Experience best practices and the ongoing evolution of the Developer Experience (DX).

“With the support of Sensedia's Developer Experience (DX) at Netshoes, we have a team looking specifically at the health of our APIs. The Sensedia team has become so adept at our APIs that we often turn to them to ask questions about the behavior of a particular stream.” - Jorge Peres.

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