Next, you will want to think about optimizing your app by selecting the API endpoints and data needed to integrate with your app. Your goal is to provide a natural experience for your users to setup and authenticate an integration.
Start by guiding end-users within the natural workflow:
- Mockup a simple selection and authentication flow to determine where it best fits within your app.
- Determine if this a one time event.
- Talk with UX about the best option for your application: Will there be a pop-up window, full-window, or redirect?
In the HubSpot example, the integration end-points are selected by marketing or office administrators. When setting up the integrations, the app admins (or end users) can map their data objects from HubSpot to a marketing webinar platform, like GoToWebinar.
Speaking of data, you want your end users to do as little work as possible when activating an integration, it is best to pre-map the data that your application will exchange with the endpoint so that your users only need to account for custom fields or fields that are specific to that user’s endpoint. Your customers should only have to validate and slightly modify data mappings to suit their individual needs, don’t make them start from scratch which is prone to error frustration - your app should already have the base fields locked in.
The best integration experience makes end users
forget they're even connecting your app with another service.
The best integration experience makes end users forget they’re even connecting your app with another service. End-point selection and authentication should happen within your application with your brand requesting access to the end-point. You manage the experience for the user from end-to-end.
Don’t let your users leave your app!
The last piece to selecting API endpoints is to anticipate future integration needs. Many mature apps provide dozens, if not hundreds, of end-points as options for their users to connect to. As you design your user experience, take the time to get to know your customers and learn what matters most to them.
Ask yourself these questions to anticipate future integration needs:
- Which categories of services do my customers want my app to connect to?
- What end-points do my customers use regularly within each of these categories?
- How would you quantify the value of this connected environment?
- What value do these integration points have on the user experience?
Now, you are ready to dive deeper and integrate!
Pre-integration work is complete! But wait… Once you are ready to integrate, there are initially more questions than answers. API Integration is about building pre-built integration into your application. However, it’s more complex than point-to-point connection, and it’s bigger than simply writing directly to the API.
Below the surface of writing to an API, developers are faced with complexities including custom authentication, data discovery, mapping and transformation, logging and event management.
This section will walk you through all of these areas and break down steps to help you swan-dive into integration.