When it comes to API design, consistency is one of the most-discussed topics among developers these days. After all, if you want to finish and launch your API on time, you need to make sure that every person does his or her job properly and that every segment gets the attention it needs.
If you want to do the job competently, a standardized approach to API design is definitely the way to go. However, most organizations don’t invest nearly enough time and energy in standardizing the API design within their organization.
Some of them don’t have enough knowledge about it while others don’t see its value. For that reason, we are going to discuss the importance of standardized API design and show you what are some of its benefits. Without further ado, let’s start…
What Exactly is Standardization?
If you’re still new to API design, let’s start from the beginning and explain the whole process. When people talk about API design, they usually refer to the creation of an interface that allows other developers to implement the API and use it to enhance their own app.
Of course, the creation of the interface is not the only thing that matters. For instance, if you want to have a large user base, you need to create API documentation that is easy to digest even for a non-tech-savvy person and that is filled with examples that make the whole process easier.
Now if you plan on creating more than one API in the near future, you need to standardize the whole process across your whole team. That means you need to create a blueprint of sorts that will allow devs, writers, and architects to stay on the same page during the entire process.
This will ensure that your “brand voice” stays consistent and that the experience of your users remains at a high level. You can use so-called “style guidelines” to stay consistent. Some of the more popular styles include the following:
- PayPal Style Guidelines
- Google Style Guidelines
- Microsoft Style Guidelines
Why Should You Standardize the Process?
So far, we’ve tried to explain the standardization process, but you’re still left with a question: Why should you do it in the first place?
Well think about it like this: when an interior designer designs a home, he makes sure that every element from the floor to the windows follows a specific pattern and has a certain style to it. This not only makes everything look aesthetically consistent but also makes the construction team’s job easier.
The same principle applies to API design. By standardizing the design process, you’re making sure that everything looks and feels great for the consumer and that your team has an easier job creating the actual API. Let’s look at some concrete examples of this…
Enhancing the Dev Experience
No matter how good and useful your API is if no one on the market is using it, the whole ordeal was kind of pointless. Keep in mind that your API – even if it’s free to use – is still a product. And it’s a product that represents your organization and your values.
API consumers are more sophisticated than the average consumer. They will critique your API on various forums across the web and if you want your brand to be held in a high regard, you need to make sure that every aspect of your product is critique-proof.
Having a consistent design will ensure that the developers who are using the API have a smooth experience. That will motivate them to give positive comments about your organization and ensure that they will use more of your products in the future.
Saving Both Money and Time
These standards are also meant to set the best practices your team should use in order to finish the design process quicker and make implementation even faster. Basically, by implementing the standardization process, you’ll help both your developers and customers at the same time.
By having this process in place, you’ll ensure that every stakeholder knows what to do with the API when its finally finished. Having a consistent design means that there won’t be any misconceptions on what your API is supposed to do and how the users should handle it.
And with everyone on the same page, you’ll be able to save a lot of time during the design process. In turn, this will help your devs deliver the product on time and save you a ton of money in the process. Because of that, having tested protocols in place for your devs to follow is crucial for your success.
Improving API Sustainability
As you already know, creating an API is a long-term commitment and investment. It’s going to take some time for people to discover your API, test it out, and to spread the word about it. And if you want to ensure that people continue using your API, you need to make some improvements along the way.
Once you have your design guidelines in place, it’s going to be far easier for your developers to make certain tweaks and improve your API. That also allows the business owners to scale the design and the development processes more closely and accurately.
The Bottom Line on the Standardized Approach
Without a proper design protocol in place, the process of creating an API from scratch will probably last longer than you’ve originally expected. Not only that but when your team isn’t working like a well-oiled machine, inconsistencies tend to happen more often than they should.
This only leads to confusion and in the end, a ton of dissatisfied users. However, you can avoid all of this mess by having a standardized API design process in place. This will help you avoid most of the pitfalls usually associated with API design and allow you to deliver a number of products to the market on time.
We hope you enjoyed our article and that you found it helpful. As always, if you have anything to add to the conversation, feel free to leave a comment in the section below and we’ll get right back at you!