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API Center User Experience Improvement Research and Discovery


Product Overview

North Star

A 6 month long engagement into Discover Financial Services’ API Enablement and Standardization Discovery Research. In this case study we take a look into this deep dive exploration into the API Center, how it is used today and identifying opportunities for improvement.


Total Sessions


Project Length


Total Participants

Product Team

Yinnette Olivo
Lead Experience Strategist & Researcher
Lise Noble
Product Design Leadership
George Mitry
Lead CraftWorx Engineer


About the Discovery & Research Workgroup

There is a lot of uncertainty when developing a product and choosing what features to implement next. This is where product discovery and research can help.

It aims at reducing the amount of uncertainty around solutions to pain points by ensuring that the target audience is getting what they want. User driven design is at the core of any good product or tool. This means that in order to be successful with a build, the buck starts and ends with the user.
Discovery is never a one size fits all. As researchers we want to stay away from recycling the same activities and deliverables, opting instead to modify the process to fit the problem at hand. Slowly making our way thru the product, identifying areas that may need additional concentration and focusing on personas and their individual needs in order to create tailored experiences that work for the specific audience. This ensures that, even if the goals vary from user to user, everyone is getting what they need from the product.


What is the API Center Improvement Initiative?

The API engagement seeked to…

  • Perform comprehensive CraftWorx & Design Thinking guided discovery into the API Center in order to challenge and prove the THINK Theory in a real-world product lifecycle development.
  • Schedule and facilitate user sessions with internal API users and non-users who will participate in the discovery sessions and will be the contributing force in the research study.
  • Gather qualitative data and compile research in order to better understand the pros and cons of the current solution.
  • Leverage research to make informed decisions on what improvements to features and functionality should be included in the next product lifecycle release.
  • Guide design and development. of future stages of the API center, creating a scalable and comprehensive tool which works for the users who helped create it.


The Challenge with the API Center

While the API center serves the purpose for which it was intended, as innovationists, we can’t help but notice the details.

After participating in discovery user interviews for the API Center, many have expressed frustrations associated with the limited functionality and lack thereof. There is an underlying problem with the use of this tool, pain-points associated with discoverability, difficulty navigating, task prioritization, and documentation.
After the interviews we were able to get a clear picture of what the users needed. The asked for overall reduction of friction, integration with other tools they use, facilitate the testing process, cut back on navigation and simplify, and create a collaborative environment where hand-off, versioning and API management is a team effort.
Focusing in on the discoverability challenges

We must work on the discoverability aspect and plan a strategic digital marketing strategy within Discover in order to ensure users find the API center when they need it, and drive adoption ensuring that when they are there, they are engaged. Making it a single source of truth in terms for all our internal API needs.

  • Lack of personalization and value in metrics
  • Navigation is full of friction and confusing
  • Lack of focus on primary persona driving functions 
  • Lack of meaningful relationships within the experience
  • The system is manual and labor-intensive to use
  • No automation regarding approvals, submissions, and notifications
  • APIs missing important information as there is no error handling in place for the validation of required details. 
  • No version control or testing is leading to duplicates and confusion over capabilities and ownership


Leveraging the users to tell us who they are. 

Personas are fake people.

Not really fake but made up characters who are in the situations and scenarios that a typical user would be in. They have the different origins, roles, characteristics and narratives, and like all of the users, are looking to accomplish specific tasks.

Why are they important?

Personas are a valuable tool to help you get to know your customers, as well as how you can meet their needs or solve their problems. With detailed personas in place, everybody has a more consistent overview of your target audience. Plus, you’re better equipped to provide empathy and insight when discussing features and product changes. Use this template to outline need-to-know information about your customers and take your marketing to the next level

The Consumer

The Provider

06. The user-driven and developed solution

Persona-Driven Experience

Persona driven experiences that include comprehensive publish and consume journeys.


New space where engineers can collaborate together as a team, view metrics, work on drafts, test and more.

Powerful Search

Improved taxonomy with search to increase discoverability and comprehensive card design.

Design Lang Intergration

API center will be in sync with the DTA Design Language making the new experience recognizable to users.

New API Details

Improved details of APIs including all all meta data, endpoints, responses, related/team/suggested apis, testing, version history, etc

Team Space

Create a culture of knowledge, administration and teamwork, having API ownership belong to team and not any single person.

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