This talk was presented at API The Docs Virtual 2022 event series on 26 October. We are glad to present the video recording, slide deck and talk summary below. Enjoy!
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Psychologist, UX Researcher at Pronovix
Happy path: a user experience in which developers get what they need. Their journey is simple, fulfilling and seamless. A good design is invisible, but the lack of it can lead to difficulties and frustration.
If we want to give developers the happy path, we need to understand:
Each developer portal has its own audience. The audience has unique needs and challenges, but there are some general principles that can be applied when designing for them. Steven Clarke (2007) observed that there are three approaches to software development. Recent scientific researches have validated Clarke’s theory.
Systematic approach: the developer prepares in advance, educates themselves. Their process of API learning is:
Their journey: learn and understand the architecture and the design, and they start to code when they feel they have the knowledge.
Opportunistic approach: they will learn by doing their work, they are like explorers. Their process of API learning is:
Their journey: they spend less time initially on the devportal, start to code (do an alternating pattern of coding and information gathering). They frequently come back for information, but not necessarily to the devportal, they use other sources as well.
Pragmatic approach: a combination of the previous two approaches. Their process of API learning is:
Their journey: it is in between the systematic and pragmatic approaches.
Even if we provide every type of content that they might need, it might not be enough. Conceptual information is helpful for developers to have. The opportunistic approach does not consume these guides as they want to understand by doing not by learning.
If we place this information in code examples, then they will find it, as every type of approach utilizes code examples.
Flow: originates from Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and the term refers to the optimal feeling, when we are immersed in an activity. In this state the performance can be up to five times more than how it is in general.
“In this state, which is called flow, the inner critic is silent and you can get all the ideas that your mind is capable to give you.”
There are some common triggers that can help developers to reach the state of flow. They need to actively concentrate on an activity, and the challenge to skill ratio has an important role in this. When the challenge is high, but they have the necessary skills and they can manage the challenge, flow occurs.
Some triggers/correlates to flow: