Millions of developers from around the world come to PayPal’s developer portal to learn how to integrate their various payment products. In order to accomplish this, developers rely on integration guides.
Several teams worked on different parts of the developer portal —all trying to solve different problems for the same user. The result was a fragmented user experience forcing users to piece together items throughout various PayPal sites to do a complete integration.
My job was to create a strategy that united the various teams and tools to improve integration guides.
Below you can see the pre-existing complex experience of trying to do a test integration.
The user is taken through various different pages and sites to complete the task.
Identifying the Problems
Coming into PayPal, I knew nothing about the complex world of API integrations. To start understanding some of the pain points of PayPal’s integration guides, I had a product manager and engineer walk me through integrating a PayPal API. It helped me understand common terminology, as well as internal and external pain points for our users. We also set up research studies to understand our current integration guides and other tools PayPal had developed. Our research provided a baseline understanding that informed our strategy to streamline the user experience.
User feedback revealed the following pain points:
Navigation labels were confusing in the integration guides and didn’t align with what content the user expected
Users struggled to access their test credentials and often left for more
Content is repetitive and confusing
Setting up a basic integration took several hours, compared to only a few minutes on most competitors’ developer portals
We needed to figure out how to collaborate effectively with all of the teams contributing to developer documentation. We needed better cross-team planning to align our goals, strategies, and efforts.
I designed the high-level strategy and coached two designers as they performed the required tactical work. Together, we implemented the following ideas:
I requested an inventory and usability research sessions to understand the existing content. This allowed me to create a clearer strategy on naming conventions and to strategize for what content should live where.
Participating teams then had clearer guidelines and structure so our technical writers knew what content to write and how to write it. Externally, we created more consistent content from product to product.
The code demo combined several different tools and content into an easy, guided experience for users to follow.
Managing the team, I needed to think of ways to improve process amongst designers, product partners, and technology partners.
Bi-Weekly Design Demos
Design demos allowed designers to present work to other teams to ensure that everyone was aware of work that was being explored or finalized.
Problem Framing & Roadmap Planning Workshops
With so many stakeholders, workshops helped create a space for everyone to be heard, to identify obstacles, and to align strategies.
I held a bi-weekly meeting to check in on the design roadmap, making updates to ensure that it aligned with product and engineering needs.
Documentation and team collaboration is moving in the right direction.
The code demo walks users through the most basic integration they need in order to get their project started. Previously, it took hours for users to set up their integration. After introducing the code demo, it takes minutes.
Code demos are able to scale to the most complex of product integrations.
Changes to the IA allow users to quickly find needed items and identify next steps while working on their integration
Communication gaps between teams are being resolved and collaboration has improved across the various teams.
Better Experience for Contributors
Now that we have figured out a strategy for our documentation, we need to design a better experience for technical writers to be able to contribute and update documentation.