Podcast 98: Judging the The DevPortal Awards 2020

The DevPortal Awards bring together the API community to recognize, celebrate and learn from the world’s greatest developer portals and their API documentation. Ellis is one of the judges.

In this episode of the Cherryleaf Podcast, he talks about the criteria the awards use to assess the different developer portals.

 

Transcript

00:00:02
Hello and welcome to the Cherryleaf Podcast.
00:00:06
Is November 2020. We’re still in the lock down. In fact, the parks are still open. I thought I’d take the opportunity to do another walking podcast. In fact, I’m along the river bank of the Thames between Staines.
00:00:21
And Laleham.
00:00:22
On my left is the River Thames, which you may hear.
00:00:26
And the seagulls above.
00:00:28
And there’s some posts.
00:00:31
In the River and on two of the posts are some very large black birds with yellow beaks, so I don’t know what they are and to my rights are houses, people that live by the river bank.
00:00:44
So let’s just walk on and this time.
00:00:48
What I thought I would talk about is the Developer Portal Awards, which are coming up on the 25th of November.
00:00:58
So there are 14 nominees.
00:01:03
For best Design 6 nominees for Best API, Business model and nine nominees for Best Developer Dashboard. So let me explain my involvement with that. So there is a jury and the jury’s task is to evaluate submitted developer portals along certain criteria.
00:01:23
And select the winners for those different categories.
00:01:28
There is 1 judge who is Emmeline Wang, who is a global digital business strategy leader. Some of you, if you’re involved with APIs, may well have heard of her. She’s quite well-known. She’s reviewing and selecting the winner for the best design, Best API, business model, and best developer dashboard categories.
00:01:47
And also involved with the best overall category and Doctor Bob Watson is another jury member. He’s a senior technical writer at Amazon Web Services in Seattle.
00:01:59
And the third juror is is me.
00:02:03
from Cherryleaf.
00:02:05
And what I’d like to do, not so much talk about who’s likely to win that decision is not been made yet, but more about the decision making criteria. How do you decide what makes a good API? And this competition is hosted by a company called Pronovix which is based in Belgium and in Hungary.
00:02:26
And they’ve given the jury members some guidance on what to look for, how to judge things. One part is we’ve identified 3 dimensions that API teams can work on to improve the business value of their developer portal.
00:02:42
One operational maturity does your developer portal working synergy with all your authoring personas.
00:02:50
Are there some or everyone who needs to push through significant friction to be able to contribute to your developer portal?
00:02:59
2 developer experience. How well does your developer portal serve your API customers? Have you removed as much friction as possible?
00:03:09
From the integration journey, have you incorporated trust signals to help them make their interface investment decisions?
00:03:17
And three business alignment is your developer portal and it solution that helps you to execute on your API program or have you worked on an interface strategy that complements your business and that will help your company to adjust to and thrive in a complex and always changing markets.
00:03:37
So I’ve stopped walking. I will restart in second, but I’m actually to sign ’cause I’m at Penton Hook lock.
00:03:44
So I’m on the Thames Path that ends.
00:03:46
Thames Path National Trail is one of a family of long distance routes.
00:03:51
And it follows the River Thames, 180 miles from its source in Gloucestershire.
00:03:56
To the City of London, ending at the Thames Barrier.
00:03:59
And I’m at the bits which is near Staines. This is the highest of stream of the lots built by the Corporation in the City of London. The Lock Keepers house was built in 1814 and the date could be seen on the city coat of arms in the front of the building.
00:04:14
If you travel along the Thames, you’ll notice that each lock has a house for its resident log keeper. These were built two different designs, often reflecting the local vernacular. This design only survives here, and that somebody lock.
00:04:27
So this will come yes, I’m only a lock in that endpoint and hook lock. If you ever saw the Monty Python sketch where.
00:04:38
Somebody was thrown into a lock while having their face slapped around with a fish. It looks similar to that sort of lock so I can get across onto Penton.
00:04:51
Hook Island.
00:04:55
If not, we will go along the river bank anyway.
So what we’ve been asked to do is yours is to look at the different entries for the different categories that people are looking at.
00:05:07
It’s over the.
00:05:09
Look, there’s a bunch of stuff going to look.
00:05:12
And then write the different entries.
00:05:16
On a scale of 1 to 5.
00:05:20
So one category is best overall mature dev portals Excel in UX and DX from both an internal an external angle. They take care of the authoring and publishing experience and they will fast first API call have an active community.
00:05:38
Provide a personalized experience upon login. Performed well regarding self-service for both novices and experienced users.
00:05:47
Let’s just go somewhere.
00:05:59
OK often relevant docs for decision makers.
00:06:05
And developers innovated how to present and consume content, promote interactive materials, shared code samples in multiple languages.
00:06:15
Redundantly and ensure that the chosen environment, such as platform marketplace, takes the utmost care of differentiated audiences.
00:06:26
Last but not least, great developer portals also serve a clear business purpose. They provide that organization with the tools and space to experiment, learn and develop new business opportunities.
00:06:38
So I’m just going onto an island in the middle of the Thames.
00:06:43
Pass this way, which is why it’s so noisy. Let me get past that bit quieter. So one of the categories I’ve been asked to judge entries for is the best accessible API portal.
00:06:56
And the guidance that I was given was Def portals that take the initiative to make their API’s and documentation accessible.
00:07:05
To all possible users, regardless of disability, type of severity of impairment.
00:07:11
Summer valuation criteria are appropriate code content to support different learning paths. For example, tutorials, we text visuals and code snippets.
00:07:22
API documentation supporting with concept 1st and code learning strategies.
00:07:29
Easy to complain content, so no lengthy or complex sentence is.
00:07:35
Image alternative texts are present transcripts of video content are provided and links contain text.
00:07:43
And simple and consistent layout, descriptive buttons clickable elements are put in context. No bright colours, good colour contrasts. Keyboard only uses supported. All information is published not buried in downloads. Clickable elements are given space. There’s no timeout windows.
00:08:03
So what I did in looking at the different entries and assessing them was firstly user web Accessibility tool called Wave to see if that brought up any errors or any warnings and that provides guidance and general Accessibility warnings, contrast errors, features also checked if the sites were mobile friendly.
00:08:25
By looking at them by resizing the browser window.
00:08:29
And then looking at the text how clear it was.
00:08:32
Checking whether there was a concept first approach checking if it could be used by keyboard, the standard.
00:08:39
Was very good. There was one or two which wants the handsome issues, but the rest were really on the button.
00:08:49
Another category was best design.
00:08:53
It’s raining and I’ll just start walking. Portals that found the perfect harmony of usability, content and aesthetics.
00:09:01
These developer portals present every aspect of the API and well structured, logical way. Developer portals that inspire trust through superior production quality.
00:09:12
And innovation, inspirational and motivational content tools for user engagement, for example, paperwork, innovative testing, supporting several learning approaches, API Explorer, visuals, and anything that surprises you as a juror in a positive way.
00:09:30
Another category they’ve got his API, business model and the guidance we got was this year we combined three categories due to significant overlap. The best API business model, best decision maker documentation and best policies and terms of use will be awarded under a single award category. This category is for dev portals that found and.
00:09:51
Innovative way to present their business models, they managed to increase the API’s perceived value through appropriate and clear.
00:10:00
Description And build trust through a genuine approach to legal topics, such as policies and terms of use. Some evaluation criteria. Clear pricing models, case studies, and testimonials, business related blogs and then onboarding is another category. Dev portals with transparent steps to registration granting access.
00:10:21
So what their API’s are about and how they work? How developers can start integrating and where they can find resources. The evaluation criteria for that category is visuals that show the API architecture clear on boarding process, what’s needed to actually get started step by step tutorials.
00:10:40
Video tutorials, case studies, use cases, and access ability of try out.
00:10:49
Let me move on to somewhere little bit dryer.
00:10:53
And another category is best developer dashboard. The criteria for that one is Def portals that take specific care of logged in developer user journey. These portals provided dashboard that enhances the developer experience. For example with metrics transparent pricing, an overview of API keys and then the final category that I’ll talk about is best Community, Spotlight and.
00:11:14
Outreach, and that’s the one of the categories that I’ve been asked to judge. This category is about to death portals with creative solutions or initiatives to show developers that their work is appreciated. Portals with great community sections where developers can share knowledge and build connections. Some evaluation criteria that we’ve.
00:11:34
Being given or I’ve been given this guidance for this to consider blogs, events, community pages, links to third party communities and forums.
00:11:45
So how do you judge whether or community?
00:11:47
Is successful, this was quite a challenge to assess because you had small companies.
00:11:54
Starting out.
00:11:56
Where there was a great deal of information, support and engagement and blogging and videos and the like. But it was pretty much one way. It was a monologue because they didn’t have a large user base at this stage. There wasn’t much in terms of content from.
00:12:15
The actual users themselves, the customers, and then you had other very large companies that have been around for decades with lots and lots of API’s.
00:12:26
And there were lots of user engagements, but there was this challenge of complexity and.
00:12:32
And dealing with legacy content so.
00:12:35
This one was quite a challenge to actually assess as to how do you judge between quite different types of companies with different challenges that are there.
00:12:46
Those are the different categories the event is on from 4:00 o’clock GMT or UTC time till 6:00 o’clock.
00:12:56
Ending with a virtual champagne session, part of the event will be to interview the jury and to ask questions. And we’ve been forewarned on what some of the questions are likely to be, those being which category was the most challenging for you?
00:13:15
And as I said, it’s really community ’cause it is quite hard to assess the different types of organisations.
00:13:21
And the challenges they face. What aspects did you take into account when reviewing your categories?
00:13:27
And that is about really those that have to do with legacy.
00:13:31
And those that have the advantage of starting from scratch.
00:13:34
We’ll talk a bit more and reflect on that after a little white Scottie Dog.
00:13:40
The very muddy belly just passed.
00:13:43
What did you learn during your review? What did I learn? Well, one thing that stood out was the high quality of so many of the entrance. There’s a lot of time and money.
00:13:55
And thought going into creating some very high quality, very good API developer portals at the moment.
00:14:02
And did I encounter any surprising or exciting solutions? Yes, to an extent. I’ll talk about that at the event on that date.
00:14:12
So we will include a link to the event.
00:14:17
In the show notes, if you want to attend.
00:14:20
And watch the event.
00:14:23
And to get an opportunity to see all the different entrance and view the winner and so on.
00:14:30
And.
00:14:31
I hope it’s good event and maybe we’ll see each other online over the web cams.
00:14:37
Just to finish up a little bit of news about Charlie. If we’ve introduced 2 new courses, we’ve struggled to workout the best way of describing how we deliver them and come up with virtual classroom as being the way that’s essentially meaning. There’s a trainer on Zoom or teams and.
00:14:54
Delegates on zoom in teams and we run the class in a very similar way too, as if everyone was in a physical classroom. So we call it a virtual classroom. The two courses we’ve introduced, one is a technical writing course for support staff, so the people who are doing support tickets and the like and get involved with writing, troubleshooting guides and online help and on boarding.
00:15:15
Helping them with the fundamentals of writing.
00:15:18
Clearly.
00:15:19
And efficiently and effectively.
00:15:22
The other course is a policies and procedures for promoting course for financial procedures. We’ve been involved with some projects.
00:15:30
Recently that involved financial related procedures, management accounting or statutory accounting procedures or budgeting and financial control type procedures within organisations.
00:15:44
And so for those people that are involved.
00:15:48
In writing, those and want some guidance.
00:15:51
So people like accountancy, no.
00:15:54
Accountancy side but don’t have really much training in how to write clearly. Then we’ve got a course now.
00:16:02
A virtual classroom course for them and that’s on the Cherryleaf website.
00:16:06
Cherryleaf.com under the training section.
00:16:10
At that’s it’s the rain stopped.
00:16:13
And walk back towards the entrance.
00:16:17
Before I came onto the tow path. Thank you for listening. If you want to contact us info@cherryleaf.com you’re more than welcome to give us a rating on the podcast platforms such as iTunes that helps enormously.
00:16:34
Apart from that, thank you for listening until next time.

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