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4 Lessons API developers can learn from artists

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Every day, millions of people share links and information across a number of applications that require accessibility. One might send a YouTube video to a friend via a messaging app or share a post on Instagram that will also appear on their Facebook page. When it comes to data sharing in the digital age, seamlessness is a huge part of the experience.  

While integration and ease of sharing with different platforms seem simple, the process is far from it. API development requires a large amount of collaboration between designers, engineers, and production teams. It also necessitates a lot of rigorous testing to ensure that all the moving parts of the technology work well before the application is ready to deploy.  

When API Development Is Also an Art 

But as much as there is a technical aspect to APIs, there is also an aesthetic aspect to it too. Applications need to be visually appealing and easy to use. After all, APIs are created for people, not machines. And what could be more quintessentially human than art? Of course, many modern problems require modern solutions. However, art was a modern solution at some point and is still as relevant today as it was back then.  

If you are an API developer who is struggling to build and design better applications, you can draw inspiration from what artists have done before and what they continue to do in the present day. Here are a few things you can learn from them: 

Colors Can Speak Louder Than Words  

Humans have an innate love for balance, meaning, and beauty. Coupled with attractive visuals, colors can do more of the talking for you. By mastering the use of color, you can visually communicate your message to the user. Before you start designing the API, it is important to find out what the app’s purpose is and who the target audience for the platform is.

For constant and seamless communication, you and your team can use Stoplight, a popular API development platform, to ensure that the design is consistent with the API’s purpose and specifications.  

The first thing the user will always see is what the application looks like. Before any of the labels, columns, and text load, the user will see colors.

It is important to choose the right colors, especially for important aspects of the user interface like call-to-action buttons, hamburger menus, chatbots, and more. A good rule of thumb is to stick with the brand’s usual color palette for the overall design of the platform or application. You might also want to consider highlighting elements that is meant to catch the user’s attention with a loud color that stands out.  

Colors can also be used to give the user an idea of what products or services the business provides. While they may not be totally aware of it, people usually associate a certain color with a certain meaning and connotation. Black is usually associated with dark themes like horror and death but can also connote sophistication and power.

Black would fit with a platform dedicated to horror entertainment or to luxury menswear or cars. On the other hand, white could mean spaciousness, freedom, and purity, which is best for industries like health, fitness, or interior design.  

Once you’ve mastered this art, it can be easy to develop any kind of API that will certainly attract the target audience. It’s all about being strategic with the use of color and knowing what colors to use. 

Symmetry Is Both Mathematical and Visual 

The most beautiful buildings and portraits are considered such because they have a certain significance and an arrangement of features that are even. There has always been a satisfying aesthetic value to symmetry, which is why it’s best to apply those principles into API design as well. One of those principles is the golden ratio.  

People like using apps that look pleasing to the eye, and using the golden ratio to inform your sizing decisions and app design keeps everything that way. Proportions stay correct and visually appealing without being overwhelming or looking awkward. Using the golden ratio technique is especially helpful if you’re still new to API development because of its versatility as a default guide for design.  

Details Matter Just as Much as the Big Picture 

This goes hand in hand with testing the API purposefully. While it is not a good thing to focus so much on every single aspect of your API design, it is important to make sure that everything is accounted for and working well before the launch. Many of the decisions made during the pre-launch phase are hard to fix after the launch and can make maintenance extremely tedious. 

When it comes to the testing phase, take the time to do it correctly. Make sure everything is looked into and is functioning optimally. It is not enough for the API to just seem like it is working, there have to be various measures that prove that it really is working as it should be. There is nothing worse than a small mistake being found on an app that has already been launched. 

Even after launching, it is often the small details that you will receive feedback on anyway. While an update and redesign might be needed in the future, it is still effective to implement small changes in terms of design. A simple changing of colors, resizing of certain areas, or adding some definition can go a long way. 

Learn All the Rules and Break Them 

They say that true creative freedom is not really about doing whatever you want, it is about doing what you want with everything you’ve learned so far. For many artists, some formal education is needed for them to learn basic skills and techniques, especially when they are still starting out. Then, they begin to bend the rules and create their own art afterward. Eventually, they become masters and trailblazers in the art movements that they’ve started. 

For many experienced API developers, they can be stuck in their ways and be used to following a certain type of aesthetic that they can stagnate. However, experimentation is a part of API development. By trying different techniques using what you know, you can discover new ways to go about API development and find new aesthetics that you might end up liking as well. 

When it comes to API production, a lot of tried and tested lessons that artists have perfected in the past still have a lot of relevance to this day. Sometimes, it can be difficult to feel inspired or find out how to go about the look and feel of an API. Hopefully, with these great tips from artists, you can develop an API that is truly a work of art! 


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