Designing Inclusive APIs

We are excited to feature another innovator doing great things in tech. Shanae Chapman is a UX designer, researcher, community builder, and educator.

She has spent most of her career advocating for the user, designing apps that people enjoy using, helping users get things done, and teaching teams UX best practices. Last Month Shanae Chapman was invited to speak at API Days London.

She virtually shared a 20 minute talk on “Designing Inclusive APIs” – Watch the highlights. In 20 minutes she helped attendees to learned about the harmful language in APIs, and how Dev communities are striving to become more inclusive and equitable because it’s the right thing to do and good for global business. The Attendees also received top tips on getting started in designing inclusive APIs, style guides, dev portals, and documentation immediately. 

Highlights of the talk included:

  • My story with harmful language in APIs.
    • Careless language used to describe systems and relationships for the tools being developed, that I was helping design.
    • I suffered in silence for years, confided in close friends, and grew tired of fake collaboration, hiding my emotions at work, and performative allyship, so decided to be vulnerable and share my truth in a team retro.
    • I was the only Black person in the room, and often the only women as well, and “Master”, “slave”, “blacklist”, “whitelist” would come out of the mouths of the White and Asian Developers and Product Managers on the team, carelessly, to describe systems and relationships for the tools being developed, that I was helping design. 
    • Fortunately in this case, the majority ruled in favor of using inclusive terms in the API and documentation going forward. And instead of “Master”, “slave” the team used “Primary”, “Secondary” in the code and documentation. The team built inclusive code and documentation because I spoke up.
  • Case Studies of Harmful Language in APIs.
    • Representative harm and allocative harm is covered in examples where APIs reinforce stereotypes, subordination, or withholds diverse information.
  • Inclusive API Examples for Style Guides, Documentation, Dev Portals.
    • Alternative language can increase community health, trust and safety, user adoption, and inclusive creators.
  • Training and Strategy opportunities offered by Nerdy Diva.
    • Interactive 2 hour training workshops to brainstorm immediate next steps and a long term roadmap of solutions.

For more information on Designing Inclusive APIs sign up here and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. 

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