An API (Applications Programming Interface) is a computing interface that dictated the communication and sharing of data between applications. It is composed of a set of methods that are clearly defined and used for communication between components. Here’s Why API Design Is UI Design In 2022.
As a developer, if you get an API that is well designed, you can easily use it to build an application since it gives you different building blocks essential for your application. All you need to do is to put these blocks together programmatically.
However, the opposite is the same. You will not be able to easily work with a poorly designed API. This is where UI (User Interface) comes in. If UI on a software application is made for people using the app on the front end, then UI is also needed for developers using the API in the back end to make things possible for app users.
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AI and API Design
If you were to look for a software developer and ask them what they think makes an API good, chances are that you might not get a clear answer. This is because it is quite a challenge to narrow down the things that make an API stand out from the rest.
If you were to ask the same question to an API developer, most of them will have vague answers which will revolve around simplicity and intuitiveness. This shows that most API developers and users do not have a clear-cut picture of a successful API design.
That notwithstanding, if you are an API developer, you should ensure that you are using UI principles to help guide your design. This way, you are going to build an API that is not only easy to use but one that allows users to concentrate on solving their problems using your API. This tells you why API design is UI design.
Here are some principles that make API design UI design and what API developers should do to achieve a successful API design;
Balance Completeness and Complexity
One of the most common mistakes with almost every other API is API developers using the same product to showcase all their use cases. Instead, they should look at balancing completeness and simplicity. This can be achieved by following the top UI trends and principles. The most common principle is known as progressive disclosure.
Let us take an example of the homepage you see when you visit Google. A larger percentage of people visiting Google’s homepage want to search by typing in text on the search box.
Google being a large company has hundreds of other services that it offers. However, the company has ensured that the homepage is entirely focused on conducting searches. They have done this because a large number of users visit this page solely for that purpose.
Nonetheless, you can also access other services such as image search and Gmail from the homepage. This is known as progressive disclosure. It requires developers to focus more on the center and front while allowing their users to reach these two points with minimal effort.
What Does This Imply?
Even though you might have more advanced features, it is good to understand that these features require a deeper interaction. You can trade off these features to attain simplicity with the most used use case.
The truth is that every developer wants to work with an API that can address special cases. They do not want APIs that do not allow them to customize behavioral changes and attributes, among other things.
That notwithstanding, developers will not want to use an API that requires them to write many lines of code to solve a problem that the API should be able to support with just a few lines of code. This means that as an API developer, you should check your API’s user interface and make sure that it gives your API users exactly what they want.
Principle of Least Astonishment
In conclusion, UI applies the principle of least astonishment which states that users should not be astonished by the behavior of your user interface. API design needs the same principle.
If the behavior of your API is strange or seems strange to your users, then it means that there is something wrong with the API. You should eliminate all surprises with your API and make sure that users get exactly what they expect.
User Experience (UI) design is very important when it comes to the design of APIs. It allows API developers to build APIs that are easy to use and that meet the expectations of their users.
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