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Information Architect
Jul 16, 2020

Developer portal candidates for the Best Design award of the annual DevPortal Awards answer the following questions:

  • How can API portals enhance user experience in general, and pay special attention to developer experience?
  • How can design elements support usability and content?

Best (UI) Design

Your developer portal will inspire trust when you present every aspect of the APIs in a well-structured and understandable way. The best design category is for devportals that found the harmony between usability, functionality, content and aesthetics. How can you achieve that? Some examples.

Consistent, yet functional UI design

Functional design is responsive and supports the API’s usability. While overview pages need to attract different audiences (developers and decision makers alike) and to provide user journey starting points, the developer documentation pages should best focus on “getting the job done”.

Typeform’s overview page has a marketing focus and features eye-catching design elements (such as micro animations and interactive text). The docs page follows the same design pattern, but focuses on usability and functionality (e.g. animations disappear but the colours — one per product — remain throughout the devportal).

Mapbox’s devportal overview page uses white space to make content sections clear. The UI design also supports the content on the API reference pages (see screenshot): the high-contrast colours clearly show what is clickable.
Note: the portal’s current design altered in comparison to Dec 2018, when the company won the Best Design prize.

Case study: displaying statistics

Visual elements, such as graphics, specific use of colours, and illustrations can help to picture statistical facts.

Shopify’s statistics intermingle design and functionality: the cards combine contrasting colours and blocks to state the numbers they want to share. The colours indicate related content. This section is mainly for business managers: the quote supports the statistics.

The examples in this post are taken from some of the previous DevPortal Awards nominees and winners.

Developer Portal Categories

The Best Developer Portals Learn more about the award categories for the Developer Portal Awards and how you can submit a nomination.

Read more
Nominate a Developer Portal

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.

Kathleen is an information architect helping clients find out how to align business goals and user needs with the knowledge we gathered about devportals. She grew her expertise through early research on developer portals to determine components, strategy, and best practices for user experience. She holds master's degrees in history and in archival science & records management.


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