99Designs offer their Tasks service that allows customers to upload a short design brief and get matched to an available graphic designer to get the job done within the hour. The team sat on the idea of releasing an API while refining the Tasks service, until the concept was validated by their friends at Segment, according to a post by 99Designs’ Dennis Hotson.
Segment had built a PhantomJS screen scraper to bypass 99Designs’ lack of an API. This kicked the team into action who began scoping ideas that their customers would respond to, as well as marketing the API to developers, who are outside of their usual target audience.
The team needed to get developers to use the Tasks APITrack this API to show off its benefits to encourage other developers to use it, and so they worked with a group of launch partners in a private beta pre-launch, with an internal team dogfooding the API by creating a browser extension and a chat bot.
Knowing how most developers think, the guys put a large emphasis on making the API familiar, supplying quality documentation and building a solid support community through outreach and advocacy.
Finally, 99Designs knew that supporting their customers’ customers was an important service, and so they supplied tools that use webhook event notifications to let customer support know when they should offer assistance, completing an end-to-end service.
Here are 99Designs’ 5 key takeaways:
- There’s more to building an API than building an API
- Embrace launch partners
- Build your API with ease-of-use in mind
- Dealing with your customers’ customers adds complications
- Be open to new ideas and innovation
To learn more check out 99Designs’ post by Dennis Hotson.