Developer Experience Tips

Improve Developer Experience in 30 mins

Daan Stolk

Daan Stolk

Nov 9, 2023

Vector designed stopwatch

// Here there! My name is Daan and I'm one of the co-founders at Alphadoc. Follow me on LinkedIn where I post additional (hopefully) helpful content.

Interactive Developer Experience: Quick & Effective Strategies

What is DX? Developer Experience is the collective name for all touchpoints that developers encounter when working with your products and services.

In high velocity software development environments, time is a luxury few can afford. This article aims to help you lay the foundation for a more interactive, engaging, and productive developer environment. The best part? It’s all with free tools.

From harnessing the power of feedback to visualizing success and setting clear, attainable goals, these quick tricks are designed to provide immediate value with minimal investment.

Why Quick Hacks Matter: The Value of 30-Minute Improvements

Setting aside just 30 minutes for DX improvements encourages a compact, but productive development burst where each minute is optimized for action. Within this half-hour, you can execute targeted enhancements that accumulate to produce meaningful progress without overwhelming the day. It's a smart, concise commitment to continuous improvement that can easily become part of a regular routine.

1. Get User Feedback

Leveraging Typeform, a free tool you can sign up for, provides an immediate solution for gauging your Developer Experience (DX). Within 30 minutes, you can design a straightforward survey tailored to extract clear feedback from your users—asking about their satisfaction levels, obstacles they encounter, and suggestions for enhancements. If your developer community isn't readily reachable via email, simply add the survey link directly in your documentation. This method encourages spontaneous feedback, ensuring that you capture the voice of your readers and community and keep your DX in a state of constant evolution, in tune with the needs and experiences of its users.

2. Visualize Success

Create a dashboard to track and visualize areas for improvement in your Developer Experience (DX). This can be streamlined using tools like Posthog. Here's a step-by-step guide to setting up a basic funnel in Posthog that can highlight how users are interacting with your platform, specifically through the journey of making their first API call aka “Hello, World”

  1. Install Posthog: First, incorporate Posthog into your portal. Remember to update your cookie banner to comply with privacy regulations, especially if you're operating within the EU.

  2. Start with the Free Plan: Opt for Posthog’s free plan initially; it provides ample functionality and generous usage tiers without sharing your credit card.

  3. Define Your Funnel Steps: Determine the critical steps a user must take to make their first API call. For example, this could be:

    1. Step 1: User logs in to the developer portal.

    2. Step 2: User accesses the API documentation section.

    3. Step 3: User makes the first API call using the provided example or test environment.

  4. Set Up Funnels in Posthog: Navigate to the 'Funnels' section in Posthog and create a new funnel. Input the steps you’ve defined, mapping them to corresponding actions or events within your portal that Posthog can track.

  5. Visualize the Funnel: Once your funnel is created, Posthog will visualize the sequence of steps. This visualization will show you how many users complete each step and where potential drop-offs occur.

  6. Analyze the Data: With your funnel set up, you can start analyzing the data. Look for high drop-off points or steps with low completion rates. These are your critical areas needing attention.

By following these steps, in about 30 minutes, you’ll have a basic yet powerful visualization of a key user journey in your developer portal. This quick setup allows you to immediately begin identifying pain points in the user experience, setting the stage for informed decisions and actionable improvements in your DX.

It is very important to realize here that it’s unlikely you’ll immediately get perfect results and data, getting this right will take some time, but you have to start somewhere.

3. DX Goals: Setting Targets

Writing down your goals might not give you instant results, but it's a solid start. Setting clear, doable goals is important for improving your DX, even if you don't have a lot of time.

In many organizations, DX improvements don’t get enough attention because they're hard to measure. But if you've already taken the first two steps, you'll begin to see feedback soon. Keep it simple: use a free Zapier automation to send Typeform responses to your company's Slack channel. Each week, share a screenshot of your dashboard funnel there as well. This will get your colleagues interested, and they'll start paying attention to the patterns that emerge.

Take a look at the feedback and data you've collected. Set targets that are within your reach. If you have the power to change the onboarding process, start there. Can you make it quicker or easier? Or if the documentation could be clearer, work on that. Set targets where you can see a real impact.

Meet Alphadoc

Check out Alphadoc to see what we can offer to improve your DX today.

Try API Calls Live - Developers can test out your API right in the docs, seeing how it works on the spot.

Guide Developers Step-by-Step - Make guides and diagrams that show developers how to use your API, step by step.

Quick Start for New Developers - Write clear guides with our special Code Walkthroughs and embedded API endpoints directly in pages. Help new developers learn how to use your API faster and easier.

Work Together on Docs - Your team can collaborate on the docs together online, updating new documents simultaneously.

Put Docs Where You Need Them - You can take parts of Alphadoc and put them in different places where developers need help, like where they have to generate API keys or in your app.

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