UIEtips: APIs – The Future Is Now

Jared Spool

April 4th, 2013

In this week’s UIEtips, I discuss how APIs are making it increasingly easier to integrate complex features into your designs, such as photo manipulation, credit card processing and other automated tasks.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

APIs give designers a much richer toolbox than they’ve ever had before. We can now take advantage of capabilities on our devices, the wealth of knowledge stored in databases, and pull together resources to provide a richer experience for our users.

APIs provide us LEGO-like building blocks, each with unique capabilities, that we can plug together to extend our abilities. Just a few years ago, if you wanted to integrate SMS into your app, your development team would have to learn the ins-and-outs of connecting to the carrier’s interfaces (which weren’t standardized) and constantly deal with a shifting landscape of technology. The costs were unacceptably high for most organizations, so only the richest could afford to develop and maintain it, with low returns on that investment.

Now, rigorously built APIs, like those provided by Twilio and its ilk, bring those development and maintenance costs down significantly. The lower bar of entry means more competition, which lowers costs even more. This makes incorporating these capabilities easier than ever.

Read the article: APIs: The Future Is Now.

How are you using APIs to bring more value to your users? Share your stories below.

One Response to “UIEtips: APIs – The Future Is Now”

  1. Cynthia Says:

    I am involved in designing the things you’ve mentioned (documentation, sandbox tools for testing functions, example code, etc.). I am also doing work on the design of services themselves, like any other product with a customer interface. I’m absolutely fascinated by this space. We are well-positioned to design for the platform, considering reuse of capabilities across channels, but we are also consumers of the platform, creating richer experiences faster when we understand what is available.

    I’m late to the party here, but interested in connecting with other designers in this space. Are there any communities out there?

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