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Developer portals: your undercover brand ambassadors

Digital Content Writer
Mar 21, 2024

An often overlooked aspect of developer portals is the impact they can deliver through a company’s branding. A consistent color scheme, recurring motifs, and an overall sense of familiarity strengthens your brand image and also inspires trust in developers who are often wary of manipulative lead generation messages.

In this article, we will delve into the role of developer portals as ambassadors of your corporate brand, and how they can be an ally to your marketing efforts.

Familiarity fosters trust

There is a reason why chain hotels are a popular choice among travelers. Arriving in a new location after a long flight can be jarring and disorienting, but hotels have a unique way of making us feel at ease. Sensory experiences, like an instantly recognizable scent or thoughtfully consistent interior design, make new situations more comfortable by appealing to our sense of familiarity. Moreover, ensuring the same level of high-quality service all over the world is a powerful way to secure our vote of confidence.

Although developer portals occupy a digital space, they can still inspire a sense of comfort and trust. Enhanced with your unique visual design and voice, they blend seamlessly into your brand identity, projecting the same level of professionalism and authenticity as your primary website. Creating a brand identity takes careful planning and a plethora of resources, so extending it to a developer portal allows you to capitalize on the investment in your brand and establish a cohesive presence across all facets of your digital ecosystem.

Beyond their functional purposes, developer portals can be a powerful extension of your brand, channeling your values and message to an audience that seeks authenticity and gimmick-free communication.

Do developers really hate marketing?

In marketing, coercive messaging is often used to overwhelm or distract audiences, so they become susceptible to buying products they don’t actually need. This is exactly the kind of manipulation that developers find off-putting and that originated the myth that ‘developers hate marketing’.

Similarly to the trust evoked by the familiar interior of chain hotels, developers seek assurance when exploring new APIs. Since they’re looking for a solution for the long haul, they often carry out thorough research to find a trustworthy provider. The source and the type of information matters, too. Although genuine reviews can be immensely valuable, our research shows that reviews and ratings often evoke suspicion in developers, as they could be manipulated or bought.

Although they appreciate aesthetically pleasing products just like the rest of us, developers tend to look ‘under the hood’, so they’re likely to spot underlying flaws and deficiencies that would otherwise be sugar-coated by eye-catching visual elements and clever marketing tactics. Because of this, it’s important to maintain a balance between style and substance.

Investing in a developer portal communicates commitment in and of itself, and as a responder in our UX research aptly stated, it ‘radiate[s] a sense of professionalism’. By delivering a captivating and authentic experience, a custom branded developer portal is capable of breaking through the barrier of skepticism, and contributes to strengthening your brand awareness.

Content-driven design

Design elements can anchor your developer portal firmly as a brand asset. By connecting its visual language with your primary website, you can create a coherent and consistent brand experience that communicates your values and message in an authentic way.

A screenshot of Verifone's primary website and developer portal next to each other
Screenshots taken on March 8th, 2024

As seen in Verifone’s example, the branding is unmistakable on the developer portal without visually overwhelming users. Everything from the curated images to the layout comes together to create a platform that is pleasant to look at and practical to use.

Title: Verifone Cloud Case Study Easy-to-Navigate Sitemap, New Design and Mature Import Solution

In our case study about Verifone's developer portal, you can read more about a real-life example of a portal that combines polished branding with a frictionless user journey.



Visual appeal elevates the experience, but content still reigns supreme. However well thought-out and captivating the visual design is, its primary function is to provide “scenery” for the content. For this reason, it’s important to maintain the balance between the two so neither overpowers the other.

Developer portals are neither just marketing tools nor just documentation sites, and they require a delicate balance of both aspects. Inundated with marketing material, they become no more than a billboard, but focusing on purely technical matters undermines their potential as a brand asset. User Experience (UX) teams play a key role in creating harmony between form and function. Based on the thorough understanding of user behavior facilitated by a UXR team, UXD and UI teams can contribute to creating a platform that is visually appealing and practical to use.

Building credibility

According to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, brand trust is more important than ever before. Brands that foster loyalty and engagement can reap the long-term benefits of trust, such as resilience and growth, even in uncertain times. Let’s see how developer portals can strengthen and promote trust in your brand whilst also supporting developers in the integration process.


From a purely practical standpoint, clear and concise documentation is essential. It guides how developers interact with APIs, facilitates problem-solving, and streamlines the integration process by eliminating friction. Robust and regularly updated documentation is also an instrument of building trust within your developer community, as it signals reliability and a commitment to eliminating friction wherever possible.

A developer portal makes it possible to document different types of APIs in your portfolio, from REST APIs to GraphQL and everything in-between. By pulling together a diverse offering under the umbrella of your brand, you can provide a streamlined experience and a one-stop-shop to developers looking to explore your APIs.


When looking for an API, developers often turn to online communities for guidance. In our UX research, several participants highlighted that they rely on community resources, such as social media posts and forums in order to discover APIs.

Developers also engage with community resources once they’ve reached the limits of the documentation. When encountering unique use cases or problems, forums can jolt developers out of frustration by bringing a refreshing change of perspective and unexpected solutions. In addition to making developers’ lives easier, communities also benefit providers by reducing the number of support requests and providing vital feedback that can improve documentation.

Fostering a developer community is an investment that pays dividends when it comes to trust. According to our research, some developers prefer the opinions of trusted and respected “influencers”, while others also mentioned talking to developer friends and colleagues to gauge their perceptions. Developers also spread the word about solutions they approve of, so an excellent portal can amplify brand awareness in an organic way.

Whether developers turn to forums or influential personalities in the community, one thing is clear: investing in an authentic brand that resonates with developers is a great way to increase brand awareness throughout the developer ecosystem.


As developers are looking for long-term solutions, it’s understandable that they’re seeking out providers with a mature API program and a favorable reputation. For instance, some developers believe that providers with a proven track record are more likely to deliver on the expectations towards the quality of the service, such as reliable uptime and support.

Some responders in our research also highlighted that they actively look for providers that are “established in the market” as they are more likely to “provide the service for a long period of time”. In short, the longevity of the provider is considered to be an indicator of the API’s enduring stability.

Closing thoughts

A thoughtfully crafted developer portal is a testament to your brand's dedication to empowering developers and serving a community that values efficiency, transparency, and to-the-point communication.

By extending your brand identity to this platform, your developer portal delivers the best of both worlds: supporting developers throughout the integration process and channeling your brand values in an inconspicuous way.

All Pronovix publications are the fruit of a team effort, enabled by the research and collective knowledge of the entire Pronovix team. Our ideas and experiences are greatly shaped by our clients and the communities we participate in.


Szabina is a Content writer and researcher at Pronovix. Her main responsibilities include researching and writing blog posts, editing podcasts, and creating engaging social media posts.

In her free time, she plays the violin (to the neighbourhood's delight) and reads in both English and her native Hungarian.


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