Stripe Developer Experience: Efficient Practices to Learn for Developer-Centric Products
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Today’s digital landscape is very competitive. To succeed in it, you often need not only a remarkable product, but a great developer experience that allows your dev team to implement your ideas within the realistic timeline and without a massive headache.
Luckily, you don’t have to create this experience from scratch and can learn from the best. One of the companies that absolutely rocks the developer experience is Stripe. Launched in 2011 and currently worth $94.4 billion, Stripe is probably one of the best examples of developer-centric products.
Eleken uses a pragmatic design approach, which is all about understanding both the users and business needs, addressing their pain points, and creating designs that not only look good, but actually solve various problems. That’s why we can relate to Stripe’s work approach and recommend it as an example.
So let’s discover what exactly is this approach that makes Stripe so great.
Building a great developer experience in the Stripe way
In its early days Stripe called themselves “Payment for developers”. While the company’s positioning might have changed over the years, it still invests lots of resources to make the developers’ work much easier. Stripe’s goal is to make the API integration as smooth as possible, allowing developers to focus more on what really makes their product unique. Here’s how they achieve that.
Straightforward onboarding right from the header
Right after you open Stripe website, you see the Developers section in the top header. When you hover on it, the menu pops up, offering instant access to documentation, guides, plugins, libraries and many more.
After you sign in, you can also quickly switch to the Developers page, where you can make a test payment, check out the API version, keys, recent errors, and other important data.
In both cases, you can spot all the necessary information immediately and access it instantly, without spending time looking for that “Developers” link all over the website. This might look very obvious, but to this day not all payment solutions have that. For instance, PayPal places all the dev-related information in the footer and once you click on the link, it redirects you to a separate developer website.
Clear and well-structured developer documentation
Another thing that Stripe is famous for is its documentation and the way it is organized. If you visit the StripeDocs page, you’ll see that it contains different categories with simple names and clear explanations. There are no brand-specific nicknames and no need to get familiar with product’s terminology to use the knowledge base.
All information is well-structured. There’s a lot of space and subheadings that ease the navigation.
Once again, not all payment solutions have a layout that’s so user-friendly. For instance, Payoneer’s Documents page simply contains a lot of text and links.
What’s more, once you decide to learn more about a certain Stripe product by clicking on it a famous three-column layout opens. It has a menu on the left, description in the middle, and a live code snippet on the right. Such navigation allows developers to see all the necessary information with tutorials on one page, without having to switch between tabs, going to an external website, or using search to see the tutorials.
There’s also a Try it out section on the main Documentation page that allows you to check out the product instantly. You select a task that you want to run (such as “Start a payment” or “Get your balance”), and receive the code that you can instantly add to your website.
As you can see, the developers can find all the information they need quickly and efficiently, and also test-drive the product immediately to see whether Stripe is worth your time and attention.
Obsessing over the developer experience
Stripe really takes developer experience seriously. For instance, in 2023, the company asked 100 employees to create an AI research assistant and train it using the whole Stripe documentation. It works as a support assistant, helping developers deploy Stripe quicker and easier. All to make their workflow simpler.
This is not the first time when Stripe allocates a lot of resources to improve their developer experience. The company even has an in-house team that works on making their solutions as developer-friendly as possible.
Stripe also continuously improves their existing solutions based on the feedback from customers and devs. Its website has “Feedback about the page?” button clearly visible on every page of its dashboard.
Stripe has not only revolutionized an online payment industry but created a great developer community that trusts and respects the company. This might not have been possible if Stripe hadn't been obsessing with the developer experience so much.
Here’s how Stripe helps the developers to start using their product quickly and easily:
- makes onboarding easy and simple,
- provides straightforward and well-organized reference documentation,
- allows users to try out the product before they pay for it,
- pays attention to user feedback,
- constantly comes up with new improvements, such as AI-powered virtual assistant for the devs.
All of this allows developers to integrate Stripe quickly and without any headache, focusing instead on other important tasks. This lets even small companies quickly start using this payment system, making Stripe so popular among devs and an example for every business to follow.
At Eleken, we really like the Stripe approach and share their attitude towards the developers. Here’s how we create developer-friendly products in our agency.
Eleken as your partner in designing developer-friendly products
Eleken is a pragmatic design agency. We strive to create products that are first of all functional and then good-looking. This obviously includes making them easy to integrate and use by both developers and end-customers.
Designer-developer collaboration is commonly viewed as a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Eleken helped many clients design and improve their developer-focused products without extra struggles.
For instance, when we worked on Stradigi, one of our main tasks was to simplify the product: its user flow and its technical terminology was too complex and overwhelming for users. During the competitors research we also discovered that this was typical for ML solutions, so decluttering Stradigi’s Kepler could also help it stand out among competitors.
Here’s how the product turned out:
All of our solutions and decisions were backed up by heavy research and communications with data specialists and users already working with Kepler. This helped us create design that truly meets the needs of end customers.
If you like our vision and our approach to designer-developer collaboration, reach out to us and let’s create something great and dev-friendly together!