The Interaction Design of APIs

Mira Dontcheva   Alex Payne, Twitter


Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University April 17, 2009

 APIs, whether on the web or in a library of local code, are what programmers interact with day in and day out. The term "API" is loose and all-encompassing, and while programmers may not be able to define exactly what one is, they know a bad one when they see it. This talk explores the interaction design of APIs, particularly through the lens of the speaker's experience evolving the popular Twitter API. The speaker will argue for the notion of a "humane API", one derived from simplicity, "explorability", and consistency 


Alex Payne is API Lead at Twitter, Inc., a communications service used by millions to share short messages. Since taking on the support and development of Twitter’s API, the service has grown to hundreds of millions of requests per day. Alex’s background is in web application development and information security, and his code has powered mission-critical operations, political campaigns, and non-profit initiatives. Alex lives and works in San Francisco.

View this talk on line at CS547 on Stanford OnLine or using this video link.

Titles and abstracts for previous years are available by year and by speaker.