Design for the Developer Experience by Kevin Page "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs June 06 2020 True analysis, Developers, ProductTank, Research, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 372 Product Management 1.488

Design for the Developer Experience by Kevin Page


In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Kevin Web Page, then Senior User Experience Designer at PagerDuty shows us how user research can improve the developer experience.

His key points include:

  • The developer experience
  • Research and analysis
  • Experience map and solutions

The Developer Experience

While working with various engineering teams, Kevin discovered what it was like for developers and the friction they experienced. The developer experience encompasses all the aspects of a developer’s interaction with the platform they are trying to integrate with. When building integrations, many developers can experience high friction and low productivity. Kevin relied on user research to speak to developers and get an idea about the challenges they were facing so that he could find ways to decrease this friction for developers and improve their experience.

Research and Analysis

Kevin and his team used qualitative research to find the root cause of the problems developers were facing. In this particular case, interview questions focused on identifying the worst and best developer experiences participants had and zoning in on what they cared about the most. For product people conducting similar research and interviews, it is important to create criteria for participants and that the questions tie back to the research goal. This ensures that you are collecting the right data to help solve the problem.

Experience Mapping and Solutions

Kevin recommends that we think of an experience map like a story. Experience maps help to understand the customer or service, they don’t need to be tied to a specific product and can instead focus on phases, actions, emotions and offer a general human perspective. Research and these experience maps were able to provide some great insights, including the fact that the term “developer” has evolved to mean a range of skills and preferences. For integrations, developers prefer tools that are easy to start, easy to learn and easy to complete.

The key takeaways from this talk are that while building products, the developer has a critical role to play. If developers make a mistake it can be catastrophic to a business. Product teams should make sure that their tools have good documentation, a system to prevent mistakes and make it easy to troubleshoot to prevent problems from occurring.