Is Your API More Than Just A Footnote On Your Website?
24 Nov 2014
Not all companies who have an API are Twilio, where the API is the product. With Twilio when you land on their website home page, you are in API developer area by default, this is what Twilio does. Many other API driven companies like Twitter, provide link to the API developer program as a link in the footer of the main site, something developers have become accustom to finding.
Many companies I review, don’t even have a link prominently listed on their site, forcing me to dig around looking for any evidence of an API. This story isn’t about these companies, that is a whole separate post, this story is about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and how they have brought their API front and center by having the API present in the top level navigation, and listing their application showcase on their home page. This demonstrates that the DPLA API is something that goes well beyond just being a footnote in operations, and at DPLA it is something that all site visitors should know about--not just developers.
This may not seem like much at first glance, but when it comes to educating visitors of all types, that an API exists, it can be the difference between them knowing their is an API, or not. In 2014, APIs are moving closer to being a part of the mainstream consciousness and you shouldn’t have to hide your API. Developers, and non-developers alike should know you have an API. If you want your visitors to potentially integrate with an API, use an application built on your API, or maybe even just spread the word about your API, consider moving it more front and center, giving your API more real estate on your home page, and make it a first class citizen in your site's global navigation.