APIs are often built according to the ideas of the API provider without considering the needs and wishes of potential API consumers. Investing time and energy in building an API that no one wants is a waste of resources. It is a big mistake that can be avoided easily. Maybe it is a no-brainer for you, but I have seen this mistake so many times, that I need to make the importance absolutely clear and propose an approach for avoiding the mistake.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”mattbiehl” suffix=””]I propose to engage with potential API consumers before and during the design of the API and call the approach Consumer-Oriented API Design.[/inlinetweet]

So what does Consumer-Oriented API Design mean and why is it so important? What are the implications of it? And how do we do it?

So here, I will give you a brief summary: Design your API as a product that is reusable by various consumers and in various use cases. You need to know your prototypical API consumers, their needs and their solution architectures. Your API should be as simple, clean, clear and approachable as possible from their perspective, the perspective of the prototypical API consumers. If you design APIs as reusable products and design them from the perspective of the prototypical API consumers, then you build consumer-oriented APIs — APIs that your consumers will love!

Consumer-Oriented API Design

Also published on Medium.

Matthias Biehl

As API strategist, Matthias helps clients discover their opportunities for innovation with APIs & ecosystems and turn them into actionable digital strategies. Based on his experience in leading large-scale API initiatives in both business and technology roles, he shares best practices and provides both strategic and practical guidance. He has stayed a techie at heart and at some point, got a Ph.D. Matthias publishes a blog at api-university.com, is the author of several books on APIs, and regularly speaks at technology conferences.