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API Ready model step 2 – Design


Your strategy and objectives with APIs are in place – now what?

Let's assume that your organization has the API strategy in place and you know what you want to achieve with your APIs. Excellent work! But how to go on from here? The next logical step is to decide what information must be made available and how it can be interestingly presented to the correct target group in order to maximize impact. It is time to design and present your API. 

In order for your API to be successful however, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. Where will my customers look for information?

2. What do they need to implement in order go get started with my API? 

Hard core backend developers probably have a different set of expectations for the API documentation than from instance app developers. Your design must therefore always start from your target audience. 


Where and how to publish 

Another important consideration when designing and releasing APIs is how and where to publish them. Many early initiatives would see an organization simply releasing an API somewhere on their website structure. And even though they organization could boast with an API, it is unlikely that anyone ever used them. Nowadays it is more widely understood that APIs can be used to change our interaction with customers, partners or citizens but how and where to publish? 

In order to make APIs easier to access, modern API Management and Connectivity platforms have API stores (similar to Apple and Android app stores) to ease communication with the intended audience. But these API stores are rare and usually connected to a specific organization or business.

However we see a change around the corner and believe that a near future will see various public API Stores where many different APIs will be made available which will enhance healthy competition and innovation. 


Update, maintain and monitor  

An API will remain successful only if it is easy to update and maintain so keep this in mind during the design process. The one thing you can be certain of in software development in general and API design in particular, is that once you have released a version, there will be requests for modifications. 

You will also need to monitor the usage and the users of your API and your design will directly affect how this is done and how easy it is to maintain and monitor your API. 

All in all the design of your APIs is an important consideration for your API strategy success. Take this challenge seriously and put yourself in the mindset of your end users when designing your APIs.   

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Written by Fredrik Svensson