Devportal Awards 2019 is open for nominations. We are looking forward to your thoughts on API developer portals!

This is the second article in a series that provides background explanations and examples within the categories:

  • we’ll give you an overview of the different nomination categories and
  • walk you through the evaluation criteria to see where your devportal excels.

Posts in this series:

  1. Best Accessible Devportal and Best Internationalized & Localized Devportal
  2. Best API Business Model and Best Decision Maker Documentation
  3. Best Onboarding and Best API Reference Documentation
  4. Best Post-integration & Maintenance Support, Best Policies & Terms of Use and Best Community Spotlight and Outreach
  5. Best New DX Innovation, Best Design, and Best Overall Developer Portal

How can you convince future customers that your products and APIs provide the best solution for their needs? How can you address users that are interested in how to excel their business?

In this article we will focus on the categories Best API Business Model and Best Decision Maker Documentation. We will highlight the criteria that we think define these categories and showcase how last year’s nominated devportals stood out.

Best API Business Model

This DevPortal Awards category is for developer portals that not only have innovative business models but also found a creative way to present them.

API business models that are well explained can help to convince future customers (not only developers). What are the answers they will search for? Let’s take a look at the first two stages of the downstream developer journey. We can extrapolate them a little to match the user expectations of a wider audience:

  • Discover & research: What is the business model? How can it help us, as customers, to accelerate? What are the advantages for us?
  • Evaluate: How much will this cost us? Can we change models later on and what does that imply?

API pricing models

Ideally, a company’s monetization strategy aligns with user expectations. How can you explain pricing models in a concise and clear way? Here are some examples:

Shopify features charts with clear explanations around the business possibilities they provide.

TomTom supports pay-as-you-grow models, with the ability to check transaction prices in USD or EUR and an FAQ that focuses on pricing related questions.

Case studies and testimonials

When you feature business model related case studies and client testimonials, you can directly address the typical questions and issues your audience might experience.

Video testimonials convey case study content in an engaging way to help future audiences to evaluate Shopify’s models to do business.

Blog posts that showcase business related news

Articles can help an organization to communicate business opportunities, releases, future plans and changes, especially if the blog provides categories for specific topics. A blog can also function as a sort of incubator for ideas, i.e. a place where you can test — via dedicated posts — what your audience would be interested in.

Best Decision Maker Documentation

Organizations will only use an API if the perceived value is clear. How can you address decision makers, whose job it is to find out what value the APIs offer?

Decision makers might go through the following user journey stages on a devportal:

  • Discover & research: Are these the APIs that we need to solve our problems and tasks at hand?
  • Evaluate: Can we trust this organization and its APIs?
  • Maintain: Will we be able to use this API over a long period of time?

How can you make sure that decision makers can find their way on your devportal easily and find the information they are looking for?

Dedicated entry points & marketing info

Landing pages can guide the developer portal’s primary audiences towards the place they need to be, e.g. via CTAs and specific links that describe the possible tasks at hand.

The KPN API Store makes sure its users start their specific journey at the right spot.

Product and API descriptions can be formulated in a way that they also target a non-technical audience.

The Deutsche Bank provides descriptions that allow decision makers to evaluate its API products. The banners explain the specific availability status of the API. Clicking through, the API summary pages describe clearly what the API is about and what its features are.

Marketing focused information that lists what your developer portal offers and where it is available can help decision makers find out whether your product provides what they need.

Orange provides the ability to select APIs and SDKs based on region.

Trust signals

Quotes, customer testimonials, a trusted-by section and proof of data security can help to reassure prospective users.

Shopify has a Trusted by section on its landing page. Note: when clicking on the community menu item, users can choose to connect to business owners on the forum.

Deutsche Bank points out what security standards it uses.

Case studies, testimonials, news, blog posts

Non-technical user stories can showcase the real-life experiences that decision makers are looking for.

Orange’s blog features decision maker focused news that users can select via different article categories.

This Orange’s API summary page lists regional options, visuals on how the API works, a use case video and partner testimonials.


Changelogs, release notes, status pages and uptime reports help to decide whether you can trust an organization’s commitment towards its APIs.

Shopify’s changelog allows for e.g. selecting release notes based on recent and scheduled changes, filtering release notes by tag and subscribing to get updates. The box “only show posts that require action” enhances the user experience.

Thorough user research will enable you to reveal your primary personas, and what they need and expect from your devportal. Ideally, this influences the way you present your business models and address decision makers. If your devportal excels in these fields, you might consider nominating it for the DevPortal Awards 2019!

DevPortal Awards 2019: How to nominate your developer portal

What is the goal of the DevPortal Awards?

The goal is to recognize public-facing developer portals that show great examples in eleven different categories and to find the developer portal that provides the best overall experience.

Why should I nominate my developer portal?

By nominating a portal you can draw the community’s attention to it and acknowledge the work of the people behind it.

How can I nominate my devportal?

Please fill out the nomination form!

Who chooses the winners?

The winners of the 11 nomination categories will be chosen by the Awards Jury in October. In the Best Overall Developer Portal category two winners will be selected: one by the jury and one by the community via public voting. The portals nominated in any of the 11 categories are running for the Best Overall portal automatically.

How can I stay up-to-date and get notifications?

Sign-up to the DevPortal Awards newsletter and receive info on nomination and voting, nominee and jury news, and details on the gala event.

This article was edited by Mark Winberry. Many thanks to Anna Antal for the background research!

About the author

Kathleen De Roo

Information Architect, Technical Content Writer

Kathleen started as a technical content writer, responsible for doing research and writing on developer portal aspects. As an information architect, she helps clients find out how to align business goals and user needs with the knowledge we gathered about devportals.

She holds master's degrees in history and in archival science & records management.