Discover’s API Center Case Stud

Discover’s API Center Case Stud

Yinnette Olivo
Dive into Discover Financial Services' transformative journey through our comprehensive case study, highlighting a six-month research odyssey aimed at revolutionizing their API Center.

Unveiling User-Centric Strategies for API Enablement and Standardization

In today's digital era, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are crucial for the seamless interaction between various software applications. Recent studies show that over 83% of web traffic is API-driven, highlighting the indispensable role of APIs in the digital domain. This case study explores Discover Financial Services' initiative to enhance their API Center, emphasizing user-centric improvements and standardization.

Product Overview

This case study offers an in-depth examination of Discover Financial Services’ API Enablement and Standardization Discovery Research. Conducted over six months, the research aimed to thoroughly understand the API Center, its current usage, and potential improvement areas. Through detailed data analysis, we explore the challenges faced by the company and the solutions proposed to address them.

About the Discovery & Research Workgroup

The Discovery & Research Workgroup, dedicated to reducing uncertainties around solution pain points through research and product discovery, focuses on user-driven design. They adapt their approach to fit specific problems, ensuring end-user-centric product development. This strategy guarantees tailored experiences for different personas, making the product beneficial for all users.

The North Star of the Research

The research’s primary goal was to identify improvement opportunities and provide a future development roadmap for the API Center. This case study offers invaluable insights for companies aiming to optimize their API enablement and standardization.

What is the API Center Improvement Initiative? The initiative aimed to:


      • Conduct a comprehensive discovery of the API Center using CraftWorx & Design Thinking methodologies.

      • Facilitate user sessions to gather feedback on the current solution.

      • Collect qualitative data for a deeper understanding of the API Center’s strengths and weaknesses.

      • Use findings to enhance features and functionality in future releases.

      • Guide the design and development of future API Center stages, focusing on scalability and user-centricity.

    The Challenge with the API Center While the API Center serves its intended purpose, user interviews revealed limitations and pain points:


        • Frustration with limited functionality and navigation difficulties.

        • Challenges in discoverability, task prioritization, and documentation.

        • Users desired less friction, better integration with other tools, simpler testing, easier navigation, and a collaborative API management environment.

        • A strategic digital marketing strategy was developed to improve discoverability and drive adoption.

        • The goal: To make the API Center a comprehensive resource for all internal API needs.

      Insightful Data on APIs APIs are more than technical infrastructure; they are strategic tools driving business growth and innovation. Companies utilizing APIs report a 45% increase in innovation and a 35% boost in productivity, highlighting the importance of effective API management.

      Leveraging Users to Understand Their Needs Personas, fictional characters based on real user data, play a crucial role in UX research. They provide detailed insights into the target audience’s needs and preferences, guiding the design and development of user-centric solutions.

      The Consumer Perspective

      Persona: The API Consumer


          • The research identified a need for a more user-friendly, less manual, and labor-intensive API Center.

          • Users sought personalized experiences, better navigation, and more meaningful relationships within the tool.

          • Challenges included a lack of automation, missing information due to inadequate error handling, and issues with version control and testing.


            • Name: Daenerys Targaryen

            • Department: Generic Application Development Team

            • Common Titles: Application Engineer, Application Developer

            • Biography: As an engineer and API consumer, Daenerys spends much time searching for the right APIs to consume from the hundreds available.

            • Motivations:


                  • Utilize APIs for business needs

                  • Call existing API services effectively

              • Goals & Objectives:


                    • Find relevant APIs easily

                    • Learn about APIs without contacting owners

                    • Keep up-to-date API specifications

                    • Consume existing APIs efficiently

                • Frustrations:


                      • Outdated API owner information

                      • Inaccurate API specifications

                      • Scattered documentation

                      • Unclear API consumption approval process

                  • Thoughts:


                        • Wants a centralized documentation repository

                        • Suggests integrating the API Center with Okta SSO

                        • Needs clarity on searching for specific data points

                  The Provider Perspective

                  Persona: The API Provider

                  The solutions developed focused on:


                      • Persona-driven experiences with comprehensive publish and consume journeys.

                      • A collaborative marketplace for engineers.

                      • Enhanced search functionality for improved discoverability.

                      • Integration with the DTA Design Language for a consistent user experience.

                      • Detailed API information, including metadata, endpoints, and version history.

                      • A team space to foster a culture of knowledge and teamwork.


                        • Name: Milton Waddams

                        • Department: Mailroom

                        • Common Titles: Product Engineer, Software Engineer, Application Developer, Digital Solutions Developer, Consultant, Database Developer, Mobile Developer

                        • Biography: Milton has been relocated to the basement. He is continually updating the TPS report API. While not searching for his red swing line stapler, he dedicates most of his time to API updates.

                        • Motivations:


                              • Provide data access

                              • Improve efficiency

                              • Be a good API provider

                          • Goals & Objectives:


                                • Keep API specs up to date

                                • Ensure awareness of API updates

                                • Adopt a solid API versioning strategy

                                • Solicit consumer feedback

                            • Frustrations:


                                  • Manual API spec updates

                                  • Lack of straightforward documentation

                                  • No alerts for API changes

                                  • Inconsistent naming and versioning

                              • Thoughts:


                                    • Wishes for a pub/sub model for API notifications

                                    • Seeks proactive support tools

                                    • Desires versioning to align with industry standards

                                    • Wants an API knowledge base for feedback

                              Conclusion Discover Financial Services’ API Enablement and Standardization Discovery Research showcases a progressive approach to technology management. By prioritizing user feedback and persona-driven experiences, the company sets an industry benchmark. Their adoption of CraftWorx, Design Thinking, and user-centric development provides a blueprint for future API management enhancements, paving the way for a more integrated, efficient, and collaborative digital future.