Best Onboarding - DevPortal Awards 2021

Last edit: Jan 18, 2023

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The platformOS Developer Portal won three of the four categories it was nominated in at the DevPortal Awards 2021: Best Editorial Experience in a DevPortal, Best Onboarding, Best Developer Portal for Alternatives to REST-APIs, and was a finalist/runner-up in the Best Accessible Devportal category.

In this article, learn about the DevPortal Awards, the judges for the category, and why we won the Best Onboarding award.

DevPortal Awards 2021

The DevPortal Awards showcases and celebrates innovative developer portals and the teams behind them. It gives publicity and appreciation to developer portals that deliver the best solutions available today, and that push the boundaries of what are believed to be the key components of a developer portal into the future.

In 2021, 49 developer portals were nominated in 15 categories:

Developer Experience

  • Best API Reference Documentation & Support
  • Best Findability of Products in a Devportal
  • Best Accessible Devportal
  • Best Developer Dashboard
  • Best International & Localized Devportal
  • Best New DX Innovation
  • Best Onboarding
  • Best Community Spotlight & Outreach

Operational Excellence

  • Best Developer Portal for alternatives to REST-APIs
  • Best Editorial Experience in a DevPortal
  • Best use of API Gateway Integration
  • Best use of Monetization

Business Alignment

  • Best Internal DevPortal
  • Best API Business Model

Best Overall Developer Portal

  • Best SME DevPortal
  • Best Enterprise Devportal (B2B or B2C)
  • Community Prize

Best Onboarding

As described on the DevPortal Awards website, ‘onboarding’ is about how you optimize attracting and converting new users via your developer portal, and best facilitating your customer developers seamlessly immersing themselves in your solution offering. This category is for developer portals that clearly show what their APIs are about, how they work, how developers can start integrating and where they can find resources.

During the evaluation process, judges asked questions like these to find the devportal with the best onboarding:

  • How can users test the integrations?
  • Can they evaluate them before or after logging in?
  • How easy is it for users to register?
  • How can they start using the API that they’ve selected?
  • What documentation types are available to help them find out how everything works

Past winners of the Best Onboarding category were:

  • Mercedes Benz /Developers (2020)
  • Nexmo Developer (2018 and 2019)

In 2021, we competed in this category against:

  • Amadeus for Developers
  • Charles Schwab Developer Portal
  • Codat Portal
  • Deutsche Bank Developer Portal
  • FIS Code Connect
  • Hazelcast Documentation Portal
  • Onfido Developer Hub
  • RingCentral Developers Portal
  • SEON Docs
  • Sikka One API Developer
  • Tapix Developer Portal
  • TCS Cubo Marketplace
  • ThingWorx Developer Portal
  • Tink Console
  • Tokopedia Seller API
  • YTS API Portal


The DevPortal Awards are a peer-reviewed award where jury members are invited and assigned to categories according to their expertise. In 2021, 11 judges worked on assessing the portals in 3 groups. The judges responsible for selecting the devportal with the Best Onboarding were:

  • Tom Johnson: Tom Johnson is a senior technical writer based in Seattle and working for Google. He has a popular blog called idratherbewriting.com, which has a lot of visibility in the tech comm community, and a free API documentation course at idratherbewriting.com/learnapidoc that provides a great introduction to API documentation.
  • Ellis Pratt: Ellis is Director at Cherryleaf, a technical and UX content writing services company based in the UK. He is also a Council Member of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators. You can listen to him on the Cherryleaf Podcast. It's a podcast on becoming a better technical and business communicator.
  • Lukas Rosenstock: Lukas is a software developer (mostly PHP, some JS), technical writer, API consultant, and entrepreneur. He serves multiple clients with his unique combination of coding expertise, a perspective on business strategy as well as a passion for great documentation. Lukas is also building CloudObjects, an API directory, community and platform for developer tools.
  • Bob Watson: Bob is Senior Technical Writer at Amazon Web Services. Through combining his extensive industry experience and academic research Bob aims to prepare tomorrow's engineers and technical communicators for the diverse challenges they'll face as professionals. You can read his blog at Docs By Design, where he ponders technical writing, API documentation, and the world in general.

Thank you to the judges for providing their expertise and for the enormous work of evaluating all the nominees in the different categories.

Why we won

According to the jury members, platformOS' getting started tutorials have sufficient detail to be instructive while also helping users become familiar with the products. A prominent Try Now button leads to a clear page with video instruction and well-explained options for getting started. The signup is simple and straightforward, with a well-defined user journey. Example apps allow for working in code at a variety of levels.

As members of our community know, we regularly carry out user research to understand our users’ expectations, behaviors, needs, and motivations. We do this through methodical, investigative approaches like interviews, remote usability testing, card sorting exercises, tree tests, surveys and questionnaires, and analytics reviews. This user research is carried out at all stages of the product development process because we believe such a holistic stepped approach goes a long way to increase the overall value proposition of platformOS.

For our onboarding process, we started with exploring the requirements following the Design Thinking approach, then had multiple UX research rounds progressively over 3 years for developing an onboarding strategy, gathering feedback, and fine-tuning the user journeys and the documentation content.

To date, we have developed three main onboarding journeys for the three main segments of our target audience.

  • Non-technical users can go through the 1-click route that takes them through registering on the Partner Portal to creating a demo site, and installing the blog module, by only clicking through a setup wizard.
  • Semi-technical users can create a sandbox in which they can experiment by cloning a demo site from our GitHub repository, and they also have the option to go through our Hello, World! Guide.
  • Technical users can follow a more complex tutorial that walks them through the steps of creating an app on platformOS from setting up their development environment to deploying and testing their finished app. It explains basic concepts, the main building blocks and the logic behind platformOS, while also giving you some recommendations on the workflow.

We provide two options for developers to start building their platformOS sites: start from a premade template, or from scratch based on our detailed tutorials.

We are honored and grateful that our efforts have yielded such great recognition. We would like to thank all members of our community who contributed to our documentation providing feedback, requests, edits, new content, or participating in user experience research.

We will keep revalidating and improving our documentation just like we have been doing since the beginning. It feels great to take a moment to appreciate the journey so far and get recognition for our work.

Quote from the Judges


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