ReadMe: Developer Community

Developer Community

Users: ReadMe has two types of users. The first are companies producing APIs (our customers), and the second are API consumers (their customers). In the end, our customers aren't happy if their customers aren't happy, so its important that we make documentation better for the people actually reading it. 

Goal: Make it easy for companies to create a community around their documentation allowing consumers to engage with each other. This will decrease the support load of maintaining an API and documentation.

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Solution: The main feature we adjusted to create space for more API consumer interaction was the support forum. The forum existed since ReadMe launched, but there were some major drawbacks that prevented many users from turning it on. However, with these changes the consumers are able to find what they need quickly and answer other questions just as easily:

  • FAQ - We added an admin moderated FAQ where any question could be added to the FAQ, and admins could add questions directly. This lets producers provide high quality answers to the most common questions.
  • Re-ordering questions - Questions were initially ordered based on most views. This skewed the most popular questions to the oldest. Now popular is based on the most recent activity.
  • More useful categories - We adjusted the categories to focus on recent and popular questions to show answers more quickly.
  • Answered & admin tags - Allows users to see when the API producer has answered a question.
  • # of responses - Let's people see what questions have a response without clicking on in.
  • Commenting without sign-in - Allows more people to contribute.

Results: These changes were designed to allow users to interact with the support forum more quickly, both when asking and answering questions, to increase engagement. The number of users with the support forum on increased from 30% to 50%.

I would love to continue building on this further in the future. A few things I'd like to explore are: a tagging system where tags can be defined by users and rewards for highly engaged users.