Eric Cressey

Tech writer - Content strategist - Developer

Symantec Partner API

I planned and wrote all of the Symantec Website Security Partner API documentation, including API reference, tutorials, and code samples in Java, PHP, C#, and Python.

  • Role: UX content writer
  • Timeframe December 2014 to August 2015
  • Methods and skills: Technical writing, research, mind mapping, user interviews, usability tests, information architecture, code sample writing, API testing, analytics
  • Tools: Vasont, XMetal, C#, Python, PHP, Java, SoapUI


I conducted interviews and used competitive analysis to identify issues with the current documentation, learn pain points with the current developer experience, and understand how partners use the API to accomplish their business goals. I spoke with API users, product managers, and support engineers to understand common API use cases, establish user personas, and build baseline metrics about the quality of our API documentation.

Code samples

One of the most important things I learned from interviews and research was that the documentation needed more code samples and better getting started information for new users.

Once I understood how the API fit into our partners’ business goals, I aligned with our engineering team to make sure I understood the best practices for using the API to accomplish those tasks. I used those insights to build Java, PHP, C#, and Python code samples and tutorials tailored to the tasks our API users were trying to perform.

I tested each code sample I wrote and included code samples in usability tests to validate their accuracy and effectiveness.

API code sample

Information architecture

I used customer feedback and research to build a content strategy for the API documentation. I separated developer guide content from API reference information, prioritized getting started content, and made version information easy to find. I used mind mapping to lay out the updated information architecture, and card sorts and usability studies to validate the documentation.

A mind map of the API documentation


It’s important to make sure your documentation is effective. I validated the updated Partner API documentation with the results from user surveys, usability studies, and web analytics.

Before The old Partner API documentation

After The new version of the Partner API documentation