Bubble is very cool.
I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone, but the Bubble documentation is less-awesome than Bubble.
I have enough experience with software design to know that you can’t always make a GUI as intuitive as you’d like, so good documentation is vital in these cases.
I also have enough experience with documentation to know that it’s not always easy to get right.
And I have enough experience with conversion optimization to know that you lose a large chunk of potential users with virtually any cognitive friction.
When looking at the docs, my initial impression—which has persisted—was that:
a) the documentation page format and layout is convoluted and unfocused, making me feel like I have to click every link until I find something that decodes the enigma that is Bubble;
I could be wrong, but seeing two primary documents (manual & reference) gives me the sense that one or both of them are incomplete. If anyone has another explanation, please let me know.
As for item a), I’d guess this results from the same general documentation philosophy that led to item b).
To be clear, I always prefer too much information over too little information. So I think it’s awesome that the Bubble team has provided so many links, both in-house and third-party.
But if your product isn’t intuitive, a lot of your users will only give your documentation one chance (if that) to enlighten them. The notable exception to this principle is your audience of programmers, many of who are already accustomed to hazy docs. But the primary point of the platform seems to be to enable no-code developers to develop. As such, I can’t imagine anything more important than clarity.
This post isn’t meant to just complain. I was absolutely bonkers over Bubble when I discovered its capabilities, but after a few days trying to build basic functionality and going in circles, I’m very hesitant to sink more time into it.
That said, I’m very glad it exists and I can’t imagine the hard work and finesse that went into it. Kudos to the Bubble team. I provide the above feedback with love and appreciation.
I’d love to hear input from the rest of you.