An API is an interface between a server and a client. When the client is not your own, the API becomes the interface consumed by an end-user (eg. third party app developer). Like any interface, the heart of scalable and intuitive APIs is great user experience, but the UX of an API is rarely considered. It may not be intuitive, but thinking of an API as a user experience problem by integrating UX strategies can help developers and product managers create stronger API’s that are easy to use and adopt.

In this talk I’ll share the impact of working with UX on developing an API using real examples and lessons learned from upgrading Shopify’s own API. Throughout its development, we applied UX thinking by identifying use cases, defining user-centred domain models and abstracting conceptual models that helped us understand what we needed to build. We then structured the schema, named and defined objects, outlined their relation to each other and created the docs. All of this was supported by insights from user interviews and research which greatly impacted how it was received at launch. Learn how to structure your APIs by thinking about the UX.