What makes your API references good? How can you boost developer experience? What docs do decision makers need? What ensures accessibility?

A handful of leaders in the API space are developing DX innovations for their API products and developer portals, but it is difficult to see clear trends in the API docs space. With the DevPortal Awards, Pronovix aims at creating an opportunity to celebrate the best developer portals, their API documentation components and inclusive characteristics, so that the API industry as a whole can accelerate its own learning.

This year, the DevPortal Awards counted 11 categories. Nominated portals automatically ran for the Best Overall DevPortal. The jury (Bob Watson, Anne Gentle and Lukas Rosenstock) chose the finalists and winners in each category. Furthermore, the community also casted votes for the Best Overall DevPortal. Two categories (Best Policies & Terms of Use; Best Localized & International DevPortal) only counted one nominee each —the jury decided to withdraw the respective prizes this year.

Best API Business Model: TomTom for Developers

In the "API business model" category we were looking for portals that have innovative business models, such as API pricing model innovations and new ways to monetize APIs. In addition, we were looking for portals that have found an efficient way to present these.

Finalists of Best API Business Model: Postman and TomTom for Developers



The jury found that Postman provided a unique offering of APIs with well explained pricing models that are accessible for a large audience. While TomTom created a very well-explained and easily understandable pay-as-you-grow model. The jury also mentioned that a nice-to-have feature was the popup feedback widget which asks if the pricing model is clear to the user.

Best API Reference Documentation: Adyen API Explorer

In the "API reference documentation" category we were looking for portals that improve on API reference documentation.

This means how they integrate with “try it out”, and sandbox functionality: the heart of developer experience.

A few extras that were appreciated are highlighted code, ability to comment, copy buttons, collapsible columns, a programming language selector, interactive links, and easy switching between testing and production.

Finalists of Best API References Documentation: Mercedes-Benz / developers, Shutterstock Developers and Adyen API Explorer



This was the toughest category for the Jury. The jury members pointed out that it's difficult to "differentiate among the best because "best" is pretty broad and product-specific [.....] while bad is objectively bad, good is very subjective and context-specific."

The DevPortal Awards Jury acknowledged Mercedes-Benz / developers for their easy-to-read and easy-to-find reference docs.

The jury valued Shutterstock’s references because they are easily reachable, well-written and explanatory with different language examples.

The Adyen docs were praised for being innovative, and interactive. They are easy to use and easy to navigate, and support multiple API versions.

Best New DX Innovation: NBG Technology Hub

In the "Developer Experience Innovation" category we were looking for portals that lead the way in boosting developer experience through Developer eXperience innovations or well executed existing technologies.

Among the criteria we can mention various tools for user engagement, such as pay for work, innovative testing, API explorer, and visuals.



Finalists of Best New DX Innovation: NBG Technology Hub and Adyen API Explorer



The jury highlighted NBG’s try-it-out and take-the-tour functions and recognized Adyen for its dropdown list with actual use cases that show corresponding examples that are editable and runnable.

Best Design: Mercedes-Benz / developers

In the "Design" category we were looking for portals that found the perfect harmony of usability, content and aesthetics and present every aspect of the APIs in a well-structured, understandable way. In short: developer portals that inspire trust through superior production quality.



Finalists of Best Design: ABN AMRO Developer Portal, Deutsche Bank Developer Portal, Aevi Developer Portal and Mercedes-Benz / developers



In all four cases, the jury highlighted the words clean, consistent and usable.

ABN Amro was celebrated for its matching aesthetics and attention to detail, Deutsche Bank for its dark-light mode function and its modern and unique design.

The jury praised Aevi for the meaningful illustrations on the home page, and Mercedes-Benz / developers for keeping up UI design expectations throughout the whole portal.

Best Onboarding: Nexmo Developer

In the "Best onboarding" category we were looking for portals that clearly show what their APIs are about, how they work, and how developers can start integrating and where they can find resources.



Finalists of Best Onboarding: Nexmo Developer, ThingWorx Developer Portal, Amadeus for Developers



The jury liked Nexmo Developer’s narrative tutorials, step-by-step guide, error documentation and clear use cases.

ThingWorx was appreciated for its clear Getting Started guide and its transparent onboarding process.

While Amadeus was applauded for its straightforwardness, and self-service instructions.

Best Decision Maker Documentation: Adyen documentation

In the "Decision maker documentation" category we were looking for portals that could increase the perceived value of their API through spot-on and clear business descriptions.



Finalist of Best Decision Maker Documentation: Adyen Documentation



Adyen is all about APIs, and dedicated their homepage to decision makers that would like to evaluate what the company offers.

The jury therefore recommends Adyen as a model for their use cases and case studies.

Best Community Spotlight & Outreach: Visa Developer Center

In the "Community spotlight and outreach" category we were looking for portals with creative solutions or initiatives to show developers that their work is appreciated.

These are the Portals with great community sections where developers can share knowledge and build connections.



Finalists of Best Community Spotlight & Outreach: Postman, Visa Developer Center and ThingWorx Developer Portal



Postman’s strong points were its Community Showcase, Jobs Board and Events Board, plus the many examples on the forum and the case studies available on the blog.

Visa’s partner showcase features lots of use cases. Furthermore, the jury mentioned the monthly developer spotlights and community newsletter.

Regarding ThingWorx, the jury pointed out that the company praises authors and blog posts.

Best Post-Integration & Maintenance Support: Nexmo Developer

In the "Post-integration and maintenance support" category we were looking for portals that do an exceptional job in creating trust towards their APIs by clearly, yet innovatively indicating their availability and reliability.

Portals that make it easy to maintain an API integration through great release notes and other maintenance support.



Finalists of Best Post-Integration & Maintenance Support: Amadeus for Developers and Nexmo Developer



The jury highlighted Amadeus’s FAQ and changelog, and Nexmo’s comprehensive status page, active community, and support knowledge base.

Best Accessible DevPortal: Barclays API Exhange

In this category, we were looking for devportals that take the initiative to make their APIs and documentation accessible to all possible users, regardless of disability type or severity of impairment.



Finalist of Best Accessible DevPortal: Barclays API Exhange



The jury praised Barclays for having an accessible site without losing interface or interaction quality.

Best Overall DevPortal, Jury Prize: TomTom for Developers

In this category, the jury selected four finalists: TomTom for Developers, HERE, Genesys and ThingWorx.



Winner of the Jury Prize: TomTom



TomTom won because, according to the jury, they (1) scored very well in more than one category, and (2) made huge progress compared to last year.

Best Overall DevPortal, Community Prize: Visa Developer Center



Winner of the Community Prize: Visa

On a total of 2213 votes in August and September 2019, Visa received 366!



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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.