A systematic mapping study of API usability evaluation methods

Rauf, Irum; Troubitsyna, Elena and Porres, Ivan (2019). A systematic mapping study of API usability evaluation methods. Computer Science Review, 33 pp. 49–68.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosrev.2019.05.001


An Application Programming Interface (API) provides a programmatic interface to a software component that is often offered publicly and may be used by programmers who are not the API’s original designers. APIs play a key role in software reuse. By reusing high quality components and services, developers can increase their productivity and avoid costly defects. The usability of an API is a qualitative characteristic that evaluates how easy it is to use an API. Recent years have seen a considerable increase in research efforts aiming at evaluating the usability of APIs. An API usability evaluation can identify problem areas and provide recommendations for improving the API. In this systematic mapping study, we focus on 47 primary studies to identify the aim and the method of the API usability studies. We investigate which API usability factors are evaluated, at which phases of API development is the usability of API evaluated and what are the current limitations and open issues in API usability evaluation. We believe that the results of this literature review would be useful for both researchers and industry practitioners interested in investigating the usability of API and new API usability evaluation methods.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions