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User Testing in the Invisible World of APIs


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How you name, design, and structure your APIs all has a huge impact on usability. What you request and what you return in any given call can change your developer’s experience, and so just as we test usability in an app on a phone, we need to test usability of our products. In this session, we’ll cover a few different techniques and strategies you can use to run user testing on your APIs. Learn how to prototype and get quick answers to little questions, as well as how to conduct some more extensive studies to really target future features and major fixes for your product.

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User Testing in the Invisible World of APIs

  1. 1. The UX of DX: User Testing in the Invisible World of APIs Jenny Wanger @jennydove
  2. 2. Improve API Usability by applying UX Methods Empathize Scope Ideate Prototype Test Iterate {dev}
  3. 3. Discovery Build something useful Make it easy to navigateTaxonomy Get the structures rightMock & Prototype Find perfectionUsability Our UX Framework
  4. 4. Interviews Site Visits Ethnography TECHNIQUES • Collaborate with your end user to develop use cases • Determine what information to include that solves for their need Discovery Taxonomy Usability Mock & Prototype
  5. 5. DISCOVERY Observation > Conversation Look for the point of marginal return # of users learnings Developers + End Users
  6. 6. Discovery Taxonomy Usability Mock & Prototype Card Sort Tree Testing TECHNIQUES • Use user personas to create different journeys for your developers • Focus on method and resource names, order of operations
  7. 7. TAXONOMY User BIRTHPLACE AGE PET Chicago 26 yrs old 3 Cats /details /attributes /characteristics /randomThings /tags /data
  8. 8. Discovery Taxonomy Usability Mock & Prototype Paper Prototypes Instant Messenger APIs TECHNIQUES • Think through the structure of the API request and response body • The goal is to get a basic outline of each endpoint
  9. 9. MOCK & PROTOTYPE GET forecast/London },{ "period": 3, "title": "Wednesday Night", "fcttext": "Overcast. Fog overnight. Low of 54F. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph.", "fcttext_metric": "Overcast. Fog overnight. Low of 12C. Breezy. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 20 km/h.", “precipitation": "0" },{ Percent or inches? Why is only one FCT tagged with the units? Should be fcttext_imperial and fcttext_metric
  10. 10. Ugly is Beautiful
  11. 11. Discovery Taxonomy Usability Mock & Prototype Usability Testing via Postman or Swagger TECHNIQUES • Mock up your API in full detail without a back end • Follow UX usability testing techniques to run testing • This is where you decide on the fine details: units, headers, etc.
  12. 12. USABILITY • Charge a credit card for $12.50 • Apply a discount of 10% for every person who uses the code “API THE DOCS” • Create a pricing chart for lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas
  13. 13. Let’s build an API! Testing Completed
  14. 14. Assess Vision Don’t let an already-built API stop you from building the right API Version 15 APIs that are live today
  15. 15. CREATIVE FIXES GET reports type: {periodic, summary, histogram} If periodic , please supply… If summary, please supply… If histogram, please supply…
  16. 16. HIDE WITH DOCS GET reports/periodic type: periodic Start_date: 10092017 End_date: 10102017 Start_time: 1124 End_time: 1909 Interval_length: 2 Interval_units: hours
  17. 17. Questions? Users first Thanks to Emily Ryou for her contributions to this presentation. @jennydove