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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In all four cases, the jury highlighted the words clean, consistent and usable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The jury praised Barclays for having an accessible site without losing interface or interaction quality.
Best Overall DevPortal, Jury Prize: TomTom for Developers
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
On a total of 2213 votes in August and September 2019, Visa received 366!
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Kathleen De Roo
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.