Just came across your app from Product Hunt. In the brief time I’ve perused the app, things look incredible! You appear to be the first viable prototyping tool for web applications. Currently I use a combo of Sketch, InVision, and HTML/CSS to create prototypes. It’s tedious, disjointed, and time consuming. This looks like it could be a holistic solution that bypasses the primitive tasks I’m doing right now. I’m just curious who you perceive to be your main competition in the space. Is it something like Webflow? Or are you creating a new class of services/tools entirely?
I see the obvious appeal for non-tech folks to create apps, but I think you’re also appealing to someone like me - a UX designer proficient in front end development, including using frameworks like Angular, Ionic, etc. Often times, the biggest pain in the ass is just spinning up and environment and then translating my static designs into functional code. Bubble seems like it could be a godsend for rapid prototyping.
I’m curious if you guys see UX designers and product designers as a core part of your user demographic? I’d like to know that, if I dive into a paid tier, that I represent the type of user you want feedback from and will evolve the application to meet our needs. For example - will micro-interactions be something we might expect on this platform?
Thanks for creating such an exciting product!
I don’t come from a UX background, but I thought I’d still throw in my 2 cents. I had wanted to build a web app for a couple years and always knew that no matter how much design work and wire-framing I put into it myself, I’d still need to hire someone to BUILD it for me - to program it and turn my sketches into real, interactive, someone-can-log-in-from-the-other-side-of-the-world-and-use-it real life. My background is in video post-production, not coding. While I’m tech-minded, the most coding I’ve done is basic HTML and CSS “adjustments” in templated Wordpress sites. Bubble allowed ME to build my entire app, the dream version, all by myself. I mean, truly, I enjoy paying for the service.
It’s interesting that you mention Webflow because I had stumbled across that platform before Bubble and even used it for a few months trying to build my app. It was very limited in programming, but really awesome in design tools. I think there are other options that are pretty comparable depending on what you need - Adobe Muse, etc. But it does not even touch where Bubble is at with programming an application and I know there is nothing like it out there. Once I found Bubble and realized that I could custom build my database structure and manipulate dynamic data to a point where possibilities are endless… I was sold forever. Also, the design tools, while not at PSD/Sketch/Illustrator level of control, it’s still extremely powerful and allows for a great deal of flexibility if you are creative enough.
Not to mention the team at Bubble is constantly releasing updates, new features, and improvements. And they listen to us. For example, check out the current thread going about the element tree. That is some serious attention to user feedback.
My point is, Bubble isn’t just for prototyping - it can very likely be all you need to make the real thing happen with programming and design tools all in one.
We’re a little bit different from Webflow, as our goal is to create web apps, not static static website (my understanding is that’s what Webflow wants to do, hence their CMS). Another thing that Webflow is (or at least was) doing is target designers and generate HTML/CSS that devs can use. So in that sense, we’re indeed opening a new category I think. A category of tools that cover pretty much everything it takes to get software up and running, from the servers to db, to the front-end editor, etc.
So far, we haven’t had a lot of UX designers, as I think many of them weren’t thinking about creating the whole, fully-functional app. But it is changing now (like you!), and we do see more and more of them. Which is great, and I think a very natural fit, provided we can convey the value proposition which is “don’t only build the UX, but build the whole thing!”.
At this stage, Webflow is probably more UX-designers-friendly in terms of interface and options, but that’s something we’re very interesting in fixing as we have more UX people here. It’s a bit tricky as we have to make sure it remains easy and accessible for business-people, but that’s the kind of middle-ground we like working on finding!
Bubble strikes me as far more effective for UX designers than something like Webflow. After spending a short period getting familiar with Webflow, I was asking myself how do I connect to data? Is there some way to integrate JSON for mocks? Or can I connect directly to a DB? Webflow is terrific if you’re building a static marketing site, but if you’re job entails anything relating to application UX, it’s kind of a non-starter. Then, you have to rely on something like a combo of Sketch / Adobe XD and InVision.The final output is an emulation of something which still has to be built by a team of devs. Bubble has me VERY excited because it’s the first time I’ve seen a product that marries together front end layout and design with a real backend in a harmonious, intuitive way. I’m really excited to see Bubble evolve!
Just to chime in here - I’m a product manager by trade and a start up junkie by night. I’ve also had the same issue with every concept I’ve worked on - I was really excited by Webflow, but then realized it was limited at the point I needed to make a dynamic application - especially if that application was driven by a 3rd party API in any fashion.
I found Bubble when they announced the API Connector plug in - and it has changed everything. We can make our MVP for only the cost of my time and, soon, the cost of Bubble. We can get users actually using it, and - honestly - I believe Bubble probably scales well enough to serve a product site for long enough to matter.
With the Bubble team being so responsive to feedback, and with the Forum users being truly helpful, I have a ton of confidence that this platform will continue to outpace me when it comes to scaling…which means this could truly be the silver bullet the non-coders of the world need to actually get some ideas off the ground.
Really excited, bravo guys.
@jim - I wouldn’t claim to be be a UX or Design professional, but working in small software companies in a ‘Product’ capacity (especially in the early startup days when one has to wear many hats), I’ve found Bubble to be invaluable for quickly prototyping something to demo to prospective clients from an idea validation perspective. Once validated, Bubble continues to deliver value from a UX perspective - being able to put it in front of future users, receiving feedback and quickly iterating.
For someone like myself who is semi-competent in multiple areas, Bubble has been great at enabling me to quickly go through multiple early stages without the expense, time and effort of coordinating Developers and Designers.
Of course, once we’ve got the confidence we’re close to getting things right, I won’t hesitate to engage the services of those individuals (UX, Design, Dev) who can do a much better job than me!
This is a short video of something I created, which could easily be picked apart by anyone with any ‘product’ expertise - but was fantastic (for our Sales guys) to put in front of Real Estate professionals and get the feedback we needed…~
Great feedback, all! And thank you, Mark, for posting the video of your application. That was a terrific demonstration of Bubble delivering in a real world scenario.
Just fyi, when Webflow announced their dynamic CMS last year, they said that “soon” it will allow to build “entire web applications”. So who knows what they are working on…
Fellow UX designer here. I’m just picking up Bubble and running through the Code Free Startup tutorials. Loving it so far. I really think Bubble’s a great way to test new ideas out in the market really quickly. I agree with Jim that there’s a lot potential in winning over the UX crowd. A lot of us started with products like Axure that allowed you to essentially build an entire working application… an application that just wasn’t connected to a database or any (meaningful) plugins.
I’m sure the Bubble team’s inundated with new features and ideas all the time, but I’d be happy to chat about ways to reach out to the UX community if there’s interest.
As a UX professional too, totally agree with you regarding Bubble potential in UX prototyping.
It was a game changer for me to create real working prototypes. Now, it’s a pain sometimes to go back to ‘classic’ prototyping/mockup tools…
I’ll be happy to participate in ideation about the features/fonctions that bubble can bring to play more in this domain…
I’m interested how you are integrating Bubble into your workflow? Is this your core design tool or are using starting somewhere else and then remaking in bubble? How are you positioning your bubble projects to stakeholders? Are you considering them “prototypes” or actual MVPs themselves?
I’m a Ux researcher with also some duties in UX design. Basically, I tend to use Bubble for my side projects. In work environment, I’ve presented some bubble app as mockup/prototypes. What is interesting then is to explain to stakeholders that the app can also act as a MVP because it’s fully functional. This makes a nice effect in the assistance unfortunately, in my working environment, the issue is more about the definition and misunderstanding of MVP by stakeholders…
I used also sketch and Mockplus…but more and more, I jump directly on Bubble
Regarding that, I missed a proper way to export my Bubble app as clean pdf/image along with specifications…(which is a paradox…)
Bubble-tech-savvy UX designers will rule the world IMHO.
“Hey here is a really great looking web page that I designed”
“Oh, and it also works”.
One complicated issue to anticipate then is the feeling of develloppers regarding that…because they can feel threathened by that…
I had one time this experience where, presenting the capabilities of Bubble with a team, the devellopper drove all the conversation around possible security’s threats regarding Bubble and also around difficulties for integration because of non-usual languages. (It was a discussion about small, experimental MVP)
It makes me feel that his reaction was coming more from a fear to loose his expertize in the team and that his role would be underrated as “everyone” can now devellop app…
So, it makes me think that for Bubble to be really ‘accepted’ and valued in UX design, we would need that the role of the dev should also be well integrated and (re)defined in this new UX workflow model…
The biggest pushback I’ve had from using Bubble as part of my day-job has been the inability to host it ourselves. The enterprise wants the ability to provision and manage its own servers, and would gladly pay a large licensing fee to do so, but they don’t like another company (Bubble in this case) being responsible for mission-critical data and infrastructure.
I started using Bubble as Invision on steroids, and stakeholders loved it. We get extremely good data from user interviews from Bubble compared to anything else, but the managed hosting and perceived performance issues is what has stopped both companies I’ve worked for since joining Bubble from using it for the “real apps.”
I haven’t even tried introducing it to work yet, but I am already expecting to field questions about security, do to defensiveness…
Maybe Bubble should put together some simple resources on security so we can address these concerns easily.
Before learning about Bubble, I was really excited about Anima App’s Sketch integration, but I could only use this for a marketing page. I would LOVE to see Bubble make a similar type of integration into Sketch. Bubble-savvy UX designers really would own the world then.
If anyone has more examples of how they make the transition from making UX mocks to MVPs, I’d love to hear them!
Yes, it happend to me several times - they firstly ask “Where is the data”, and then “Where is the app”.