There are a lot of devices in our lives; too many some days it seems. Devices live and breathe data like people do air, an increasingly do so through APIs. Add a massive stream of constantly changing data on top, and you have the makings of either a compelling platform or a messy layer cake of epic technology failure.
Tech experts at the N.Y Times aren't wrong when they say “The new holy grail is unifying communications…”, though we could easily add “…and simplifying the consumer experience.” If that is our goal, how do we accomplish it in the face of exponential increase to devices and services?
Great experiences start by having clear goals throughout the design process and sticking to the Einsteinian mantra of “Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.” APIs are skeletal structure to the communications between systems, agreements on how systems should exchange data. When you get your API design right, you dramatically simplify things downstream, for app designers and ultimately for people using the final product.
Simple but profound APIs aren’t easy to come by, and when they surface, people flock to them. Being able to ensure that a plethora devices and services work properly together, consistently and scalably, is fundamental to producing great consumer experiences. No one should get away with awful design anymore, from back-end systems to front-line apps and devices.
The solution for service providers is vigilance, making sure their designs and practices are as clear as possible. Consumers simply have to say “no” to bad inter-device experiences, opting for devices and services that deliver great experiences when promised. We’re all already part of the IoT, and it’s up to all of us to build things that work the way we expect them to.