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API Usability Testing

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What is API Usability Testing?

Here’s what a session looks like:

We take three agencies who have at least a few APIs and - over the course of a morning - ask three outside developers to come in for one hour each and go through each of the agency’s developer pages, giving feedback as they go.

The developers spend 10-12 minutes per agency, giving general or specific feedback, sharing what they would change, what they find helpful, and what they find inconvenient or confusing.

The agency’s API producers are present to observe and take notes, but are instructed not to guide the developer unless he or she asks a question. Remember, the goal of these sessions is to provide insight into what the developer experience is for an agency’s web services. The outside developers talk outloud as they navigate first the agency developer hub, then the documentation for individual APIs, and then the actual API responses themselves. The agencies receive actionable feedback that can quickly be used to make their developer pages more user friendly to the intended audience - the third party developers who can best put government APIs to use.

A Collaboration of 18F and DigitalGov UX Program.