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What Customers Really Want: UX Design and Custom API Integration

Sep 26, 2018

One question drives the multi-billion-dollar digital marketing industry.

What do customers really want?

It’s a big question, and there are lots of different answers out there. Some of them are close enough to the truth to produce results. Others are way off the mark.

Ultimately, predicting consumer behavior accurately is more important than creating a grand theoretical framework that may or may not offer results. Web development is a creative and technological discipline.

But marketing studies are often more focused on demographic issues than technological ones. While marketers are busy finding out whether women tend to like gender-targeted ads (they don’t), web developers have clear-cut customer problems to solve.

The most exciting area for developing new ways to solve customer problems is in User Experience (UX) design. Well-designed user experiences are key to success in today’s hyper-connected Internet environment, and custom API integration is key to a successful user experience.

How Custom API Integration Fits In the UX Design Framework

At first glance, it might seem odd that API protocols are related to a discussion about UX design. Most developers see APIs as back-end connectors putting their applications in touch with third-party databases, services, and processes, and see UX design as an inherently front-end discipline.

But this isn’t exactly accurate. The distinction between back-end and front-end programming is something that only exists in the minds of web developers. Customers don’t see things that way.

Customers understand web applications as a promise to solve a particular set of problems. The application either solves them or it doesn’t. The more problems the application solves without requiring additional work on the customers’ behalf, the better they feel about it.

The more you know about your customers’ business model, the better you can map out its elements and come up with high-potential, high-viability custom API ideas.

The success of a web application is a function of the success of its users. If you can go the extra mile and create an integrated software environment that solves more customer problems than anyone else, you’re winning the web development game.

Your customers are not guaranteed to be API experts. They may not even broadly know what APIs are capable of. As a web developer, you are the expert. You have to bring up the subject of custom API integration capabilities, preferably during Project Discovery.

Consider the User Experience When Developing Custom APIs

When a web application uses an API to automate a transaction between third-party applications, users do not experience the transaction directly. This is part of the main sell for API integration – reducing manual processes and offering complete, integrated solutions to users’ problems.

But they do experience the transaction’s results, in the form of a final deliverable. This is where your custom API integration skills need to coincide with a good eye for user experience concerns.

You can make a call using credential information to a third-party providers’ system. The providers’ API documentation is organized and well-thought-out, so you can get your token key and start your POST and GET calls. But what data should you call? How does it fit into the final deliverable your customer expects?

Even choosing which specific applications to integrate with is a user experience concern. For example, consider a web application using QuickBooks API to automatically generate invoices. This is something that a customer unfamiliar with API development is likely to ask for.

But this customer may not know that you can implement APIs to automate payments to gateway provider services. The customer may not know that automatically feeding data into a real-time automated financial analysis solution like Qvinci could generate far more value than it costs by automating their financial reporting requirements.

These types of integrations can boost efficiency and delight customers by offering them user experience benefits they never imagined possible.

What About Internal APIs?

Increasing numbers of web developers are beginning to use APIs in Javascript frameworks like Angular and React.js. In the context of internal communication, APIs allow these frameworks to do both front-end and back-end work.

Within these Javascript frameworks, it’s possible to use APIs to connect to your own database, similar to the way you would traditionally program in PHP, Python, or Ruby. The Javascript code that creates the front-end also connects with a back-end database to obtain and display data, performing some front-end logic on its own.

This is only possible because the data can be fed through an API. While this isn’t a workable solution for large applications, it’s an elegant solution for small applications that require a tiny footprint and corresponding architecture.

In this case, API development isn’t about connecting your web application to some third-party process or service. It’s about streamlining the flow of data within the application itself using internal APIs.

Start Discussing Custom API Integration Today

Unless your customers are already deeply familiar with web development, there is a good chance you can surprise them by offering a wide range of custom API solutions. Giving your customers an introduction to the power of APIs can result in bigger, more valuable projects that achieve better, more streamlined results.

The only obstacle that remains is the time-consuming nature of developing customized APIs. Custom API development services can take time out of your estimated project turnaround time. What you need is a reliable, cost-effective way to outsource API development while you work on higher-impact processes in your web development projects.

This is where UnlimitedWP comes in. Our highly qualified team of developers and software engineers has the experience you need to guarantee quick, efficient results for custom API development. We’ve built custom APIs to automate logistics for e-commerce platforms, created RESTful APIs to communicate with web resources, and much more.

Find out how you can streamline custom API development with UnlimitedWP. Talk to us about your web development projects and needs today.

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After building my web agency JD Softtech in both Boston and Ahmedabad, India, I wanted to find a way to help other agencies.

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