The Design of Everyday APIs

By Arnaud Lauret, October 23, 2018

I totally forgot to put my 2018 talk on the blog. It’s called The Design of Everyday APIs which was the working title of my book before it was renamed The Design of Web APIs. It’s about fundamental design principles and use famous swedish furniture instruction manual theme. The principles discussed in this session are deeply covered (with more others) in my book The Design of Web APIs .

You’ll find here the talk’s abstract, slides and video which was recorded at Nordic API Platform Summit 2018.

You can also read a write up on the Nordic API blog: The Three Principles of Excellent API Design.


Well-designed APIs are a joy to use; poorly-designed APIs are cumbersome, confusing and frustrating, just like everyday things. During this session, I make a parallel between everyday things design and API design to expose simple but fundamentals design principles.

Is using knobs better than using buttons? API design is more than REST vs GraphQL vs gRPC vs whatever existing or yet to come API style. Great design can be achieved using any type of API. Would you buy a Kitchen Radar 3000? Are you able to use any washing machine instantly without reading user manual? Why QWERTY layout was invented? Like everyday things, APIs must have a clear purpose, must be used easily by anyone and are constrained by their environment.


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