Josef Zeman - Developer journey - make it easy for devs to love your product

API The Docs Virtual 2022 Recap

This talk was presented at API The Docs Virtual 2022 event series on 21 September. We are glad to present the video recording, slide deck and talk summary below. Enjoy!

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Josef Zeman

Developer Experience Analyst at DX Heroes

Josef's presentation (video recording)



Josef's slides



Q&A

  • When you measure a developer’s emotions about a solution, what questions do you ask?

  • What skills are needed to design DX?

  • How do you get a Developer journey map?

  • In your experience, what do developers like when it comes to tools and products?

  • What developer personas do you work with?

  • Is a friction log the tool you would use to gauge sentiment on the dev journey?

  • What tools can be used to capture friction in a Developer portal?

  • I’m wondering what your thoughts are about custom developer portals versus off-the-shelf solutions. At what point do you think people may decide an off-the-shelf solution can no longer meet their needs and they need to build a custom site to meet their DX goals?

  • What tools do you use to keep track of project requirements?

  • How does one transit from a technical writer role to a developer experience role?

What is Developer experience?

  • Very similar to UX, but the user in the middle is the developer.
  • In connection with how the developers enjoy their work, what products they use, how those products make them feel and how well they can work with that given product.
  • There are two main areas of DX: Internal and External.

Internal: Anything happening within the company or team (For example: processes, culture, DevOps, communication, assignments, CI/CD).

External: Every asset provided by a company to developers of a third party (For example: Developer portals, SDKs, Sandbox, API Design, Documentation).

What is Developer journey?

  • Very similar to Customer journey, which is a set of touch points the company provides to the users, so the two parties can communicate, and discuss progress or feedback.
  • Having a successful Developer journey is important, because if developers do not enjoy working with your product, then they will not promote it to others and you will start to lose income.

A Developer journey can be mapped out into five stages:

Discover: Developers often look for tools that can help them solve work related problems. They look through Newsletters, Forums, Developer Portals, Events and Case Studies. The key element in this stage is the quality of the business website you provide for your product.

Evaluation: Once developers find a promising product, they do an evaluation process to determine whether the product is useful for them or not. The key element in this stage is the documentation. Available and well-written documentation can help the developers in the evaluation process a great deal.

Learn: If the developers find the product adequate for their needs, they start to learn about the details of the product. The key elements in this stage are the Code examples as reference, the Getting started guides with step-by-step sections and the specialized Tutorial sections with in-depth explanations.

Build: At this point the developers know that the product is useful to them and they know how to use it properly. The next step is to integrate the product quickly and efficiently. The key elements in this stage are the assets that you can provide for the developers to quicken the integration process: SDKs, Changelog, API Reference, Workshop.

Scale: The last stage is about growing your products together with the product that the developers create. The goal is to provide the right solution for developers, so that they continue to consume your products. The key elements in this stage can be Certification programs, Partnership programs, Showcase events, Status pages and SLAs (service-level agreement).

The three stages most important in terms of Developer Experience:

  • Evaluate (Documentation, FAQs, Product pages)
  • Learn (Getting started, Code examples, Tutorials)
  • Build (SDKs, API Reference, Changelog)

What differentiates a good Developer journey from a bad one?

  • Well-written and available documentation.
  • Short and synchronous registration process.
  • Sandbox for developers to try out and test features.
  • Easy-to-use navigation system.
  • Fewer support tickets from developers.
  • Developers will recommend your products to others, resulting in more cash flow.
  • Developers have a shorter path to make a decision and purchase your product.

How can you optimize the journey?

  1. Map out your available resources (Tutorials, documentations, SDKs, Changelogs).
  2. Figure out where the developers struggle the most with the help of the sales team, support team and by conducting user testing sessions with other developers.
  3. Place your resources in the journey according to your findings.
  4. Optimize the journey until the developer becomes self sufficient with your product.
  5. Repeat the process if you are not there yet or if you have a new feature implemented.

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