Building Apps On Bubble.io: How To Build The Perfect Bubble.io Project

Discover agency secrets for planning, developing, and launching the perfect app on Bubble.io.
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Published
5/23/24
Top 10 no-code app builders for 2024: Create apps without coding. Simplify development process

Introduction

Bubble stands out as a formidable no-code platform highly favored by entrepreneurs, content creators, and burgeoning startups. 

Its popularity as the top preference for developing production-ready web and mobile applications is a testament to its robust capabilities.

However, as bubble.io encourages citizen development, many non-developers or inexperienced non-technical founders approach bubble development in the wrong way. 

In this article, we delve into the core aspects of building an impeccable Bubble project, covering the pre-development or planning stage, the development phase, and the post-development stage.

What’s Bubble.io?

Bubble.io is commonly known as a "no-code" tool or a "visual programming language." 

While these terms both accurately describe Bubble's capabilities, there's more to it. 

Bubble.io is a comprehensive hosting and service provider offering a range of hardware and software functionalities.

Operating entirely in the cloud, similar to many modern applications, Bubble ensures that both your no-code app and the editor you’re using reside in your browser. 

This accessibility means your Bubble project does not require local file installations or maintenance. You can seamlessly log in from any online device and continue your work from wherever you left off. 

Furthermore, the Bubble platform itself undergoes continuous updates, and the team behind the platform are consistently integrating new features, security enhancements, and bug fixes.

Bubble.io transcends mere language and is a complete platform for crafting mobile and web applications, which makes it fall under the category of software known as “platform-as-a-service (or PaaS for short). 

Industry Standard Steps For Building The Perfect Bubble.io Project

By following these highlighted steps and maintaining a well-structured development process, you can maximize your chances of building a successful project on Bubble.io. 

The specific requirements and considerations will vary depending on the nature of your application and its intended audience.

For ease of understanding, we have divided these steps into three groups: 

  • The Project Planning/Pre-build or Pre-development stage

  • The Project Development Stage

  • The Launch Stage

Group 1- The Planning/Pre-build Stage:  [Before Building Your Bubble.io Project]

A picture showing the 5 vital steps for planning a bubble.io project
The 5 Vital Pillars For Planning a Bubble Project

These are necessary steps to take before building your project on Bubble. 

Following these steps without missing a beat ensures the smooth and timely completion of the project.

Step 1: Define Your Bubble Project Scope and Objectives

Clearly outlining the purpose and goals of your project is a crucial initial step in the no-code development process

This often involves setting clear expectations, aligning with stakeholders, and guiding the project throughout its lifecycle.

Clearly articulate the project's specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. 

Some examples of how you can do these include: 

1. Specifying objectives such as Increasing the Bubble app user engagement by X% within the first three months of launch.

The key focus to achieve this will be measuring the number of active users, time spent on the app, and user interactions.

Or 

2. Deciding the scope of an e-Commerce project such as, 

Defining the features of the project to include product listings, shopping carts, checkout processes, and a specific payment gateway integration.

These scope elements will vary depending on the specific goals, requirements, and complexity of your own Bubble.io app project. 

However, clearly defining these project scope and objectives helps ensure that all stakeholders- including Bubble agencies developing the project- have a shared understanding of what the project will encompass and what must be delivered upon completion.

Step 2: User Research and Persona Development

This involves collecting data on your target audience's demography which includes their age, gender, location, income, education, and other relevant information. 

Then you proceed to segment your audience into different groups with distinct characteristics. 

Based on these segments, you can also create a detailed user persona for each segment. 

It is often advisable to create a document that includes detailed user personas along with the research data and insights 

A user persona typically includes a name (which could be semi-fictional), age, job, goals, pain points, and a brief narrative. 

You can also include the psychographics of these target audiences which often have their attitudes, interests, values, and behaviors. 

Tools like Xtensio, Persona.ly, or HubSpot's Make My Persona can assist with the process of creating your Bubble project's user persona.


This article also might be super-helpful: What is a User Persona?

Step 3: Market Analysis and Research

Determine the size of your target market in terms of potential customers or users. 

Analyze the market trends and your Bubble app’s growth potential. 

Find answers to whether your target market is expanding, shrinking, or stable.

This might also involve identifying existing competitors in your niche, and discovering any gaps or unmet needs in the market that your project can address and 

Planning out your go-to-market strategy or how to penetrate the market, acquire customers, and promote your project. 

Look for both direct and indirect competitors and study your competitors' products or services, features, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Find out how your competitors price their products or services and use that information to figure out your pricing strategy, whether it's cost-based, value-based, or competitive pricing. 

Then determine what sets your project apart from your competitors and figure out your unique selling points. 

Your market research involves searching for industry-specific reports from sources like Statista, IBISWorld, or industry associations for valuable market data.

Using tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or SimilarWeb can also help you analyze competitors' online presence and traffic.

Platforms like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics also provide more details on audience demographics and engagement data.

Step 4: Wireframing and Prototyping:

This step often requires the services of a UX/UI designer 

The journey of the UX/UI designer begins with diving into the client or product briefs, conducting business research, and translating the information provided in the user persona and market analysis into captivating prototypes and visually stunning designs  

The main aim of the UX/UI designer is to set the stage for an extraordinary user experience with the Bubble app.

Usually, doing this involves wireframing and prototyping tools like Figma, user flow mapping tools like Draw.io, and collaboration with the project managers and development team using tools like Slack.

Step 5: Data Modeling:

Plan your Bubble app's database structure and data relationships.

This step involves understanding what data your app will need to manage and how it will be used. 

Start this process by identifying the primary data entities (objects) that your Bubble app will deal with. 

These could be users, products, orders, articles etc. Create an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD) that visually represents the data entities and their relationships. 

Tools like Lucidchart, Draw.io, or Whimsical are useful for creating ERDs. 

For each data entity, define the attributes or fields it will have. 

Specify the data types (e.g., text, number, date) for each attribute. 

Identify how different data entities are related to each other. 

Common relationship types include one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many. 

Think about how your database structure will scale as your Bubble app grows. 

For example, building a Bubble app for 10 users will require a different data modelling approach to building a Bubble app for 100 users, and 10,000 users

Ensure that your Bubble project can accommodate increasing amounts of data and users.

Try the Nerdheadz Free Project Estimation Tool. Explore costs and duration estimates for building your no-code app idea.

Group 2- The Development Stage- [While Building Your Bubble.io Project]

Step 1: Use Bubble's Design Features

Bubble.io is a visual no-code app design tool and apps built on Bubble involve a lot of front-end building

The wireframing and prototyping done by the UX/UI designer through apps like Figma contribute to a user-friendly interface and also speed up and guide the bubble app’s development process.

Bubble provides you access to styles, colours, reusable elements and components that if preset, allow you to change models like shopping cart, sidebars and catalogue icons on one side of the project and the change is propagated across the Bubble app to avoid discord in your app’s branding.

For more information, explore:  Bubble Docs, Design Tips 

Step 2: Design Your Bubble App’s Workflow

To decide on your Bubble app's workflow, you need to create a workflow chart or diagram for each key user action. 

This will involve using Bubble's visual workflow builder to represent the sequence of events and actions that occur when a user performs a specific task. 

You can also incorporate conditional logic into your workflows that determine when specific actions should be triggered based on user inputs or system conditions.

If your Bubble app needs to interact with external services or APIs, you need to define the integration points within your Bubble project workflow and also implement user authentication and authorization logic to ensure that users can only access and perform specific actions. 

You must also plan and create the process for handling errors within your workflows. 

Define how your app should respond when an error occurs, whether it shows an error message to users or logs errors for troubleshooting. 

Before implementing your workflows in your live Bubble app, test them thoroughly in a development or staging environment. 

Verify that they work as expected and address any issues or bugs. 

Finally, create a documentation that describes each workflow in detail Including information on triggers, actions, conditions, and data interactions. 

This documentation is often valuable for developers, and team members, and for running future app maintenance.

For more information, explore the Bubble workflows manual 

Step 3: Design Your Data Management System

Start by creating input forms in your app to collect data from users. 

Use Bubble's visual design tools to build and style forms for data entry. 

Implement data validation to ensure that the data entered by users meets your requirements. 

You can use workflows to check data validity and display error messages when necessary. 

Implement database queries to retrieve specific data records.

Bubble provides various database actions like "Search for" and "Do a Search for" that allow you to filter and retrieve data based on conditions. 

In the Bubble editor, the "Data" tab helps you create data types for each category of data. 

You can also define the fields or attributes that each data type will contain. 

For example, a "User" data type might include fields like "Name," "Email," and "Password." 

Preset who should have access to each data type and under what conditions.

Bubble provides privacy rules that allow you to define who can read, write, and delete data records. Configure these rules to ensure data security.

For more information, explore Bubble Data Types and Fields Documentation Here: 

Got an idea for a no-code app? Explore potential costs & duration with Nerdheadz's Free Project Estimation Tool

Step 4: Work On User Authentication and Security

User authentication verifies the identity of your Bubble app’s users and controls their access to your Bubble application. 

Bubble provides built-in user authentication features that you can set up quickly. 

The "App Data" tab and "User." settings in Bubble editor enable setting up the "Sign Up" and "Log the User In" actions in your workflows which allow your Bubble app users to register and log in. 

Create a password reset mechanism, that allows your users to reset their passwords via email if they forget them. 

Bubble.io also offers privacy rules and security features to control data access and protect user information. 

You can utilize these features to set up privacy rules for app data types and to determine who can read, write, and delete these data records. 

You may also customize these rules to restrict access as needed and enable HTTPS for your Bubble app to encrypt data transmission between your Bubble app’s users and your server. 

Consider implementing 2FA for additional user account security and if your Bubble app handles sensitive data, ensure compliance with relevant data protection regulations (such as the., GDPR).

For more information, explore Bubble’s User Authentication Manual

Also, read about how Nerdheadz solves app security issues in Bubble.io

Step 5: Integrations To External Services

Bubble makes it relatively straightforward to integrate your Bubble app with various external services using its API Connector feature. 

The first step would be to identify the external service or tool you want to integrate your Bubble app with. 

This could be a payment gateway, social media platform, email service, AI services or any other third-party API. 

Obtain the credentials, your API key or OAuth tokens from the external service provider, then navigate to the "Plugins" tab in your Bubble editor and select "API Connector."  

To test your connection, you can use the "Initialize Call" action in your Bubble workflow to make API requests. 

You can also test the API call by triggering it in a workflow and viewing the response data.

For more information, check out the Bubble API and integrations manual

Related Article: Integrating AI into your no-code app on Bubble.io

Step 6: Commence App Testing and Quality Assurance:

In many cases, this step necessitates the involvement of a certified Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer as most organizations have their own standard approach for QA testing.

Nerdheadz's Approach To Ensuring A Bubble App’s Quality

Before we proceed with the actual testing of the Bubble app, Nerdheadz follows a structured approach. 

We begin by creating a comprehensive test plan to define the components and features of the no-code app that will be subjected to testing. 

This phase may encompass a review of the entire Bubble application's workflows or specific features, depending on the project's scope.

Following this, we carefully determine the sequence in which these tests will be executed. 

Additionally, we develop user scenarios, checklists, and product use cases to ensure a thorough testing process.

Once the test plan is in place, we establish a strategy for passing checklists and test cases, a crucial aspect known as functional testing. 

This is promptly followed by cross-browser and cross-device testing to identify and rectify any layout issues that may arise.

Upon completing the Bubble project's development, we carry out regression testing and security testing. 

For this purpose, Nerdheadz utilizes the Flusk application, a valuable tool in our quality assurance toolkit.

Throughout this process, we remain vigilant for any bugs or malfunctions that may surface. We also address any potential issues related to user-friendliness and performance promptly. 

This proactive approach ensures that the project is in optimal condition before its launch, allowing us to gather user feedback and make any necessary improvements.

Related Article: Nerdheadz Unique Approach For Solving Bubble.io App Security Issues

Free Resource: Discover how long your no-code app development will take with the free Nerdheadz Project Estimation Tool.

Group 3- Launch & Post Launch Stage- [During Launch Or After Building Your Bubble.io Project]

Step 1: Deployment and Hosting:

To select a hosting plan that suits your app's needs on Bubble, you must consider factors like traffic, storage, and database requirements. 

Bubble.io offers various hosting plans with different pricing tiers.

So after signing up for your chosen hosting plan, simply configure your app's domain name, SSL certificate, and any custom settings based on your Bubble project requirements. 

Bubble.io's deployment tools also help you publish your Bubble app to the selected hosting plan and this process typically involves a simple one-click deployment/launch button.

For more details, explore Bubble’s hosting and deployment manual here.

Step 2: Marketing and Promotion:

Explore referral and sharing features that encourage users to invite others, extending your Bubble project reach, 

Use in-app messaging and push notifications to re-engage and remarket to users, promote new features, and create feedback mechanisms like forms or surveys within the app to collect valuable insights and improve user satisfaction. 

Integrate marketing analytics tools to track user behavior, engagement, and conversion rates within your app and conduct A/B testing to optimize your Bubble app features, UI/UX, and marketing campaigns based on real user data.

Related: Discover 5 Clever Marketing Strategies For Attracting Early Adopters To Your Bubble App Here.

Step 3: Monitoring and Maintenance:

Implement monitoring tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Pingdom, Heap Analytics and Hotjar for performance tracking. 

Google Analytics helps you track user behaviour, page views, and conversion rates among many others, 

Pingdom helps you monitor your Bubble app’s uptime, downtime, and page load times and Mixpanel can help with funnel analysis.

Monitor app usage and scale your hosting plan if traffic increases or additional resources are required. 

You can use tools like Amazon Cloud Watch as Bubble apps are primarily hosted on AWS.

Perform regular updates, bug tracking and fixes, and improvements, using continuous integration/continuous development pipelines (CI/CD). 

Tools to help with this process can include Jira, Trello and CircleCI.

Step 4: Scalability Planning:

Optimize for scalability as your Bubble app’s user base grows.

You can either choose to scale your database vertically (upgrading server resources) or horizontally (shading or replicating data) to handle increased data volumes. 

Implement load balancing to distribute traffic evenly across multiple servers or instances, ensuring high availability and reliability. 

You can also use Bubble's performance optimization features to minimize page load times and implement lazy loading for content that doesn't need to be loaded immediately. 

Most importantly as your Bubble project user grows, optimize server-side workflows by minimizing unnecessary actions and calculations.

For more information, explore Bubble’s manual for scaling your Bubble Project.

Step 5: Documentation and Training:

Your user and admin documentation helps both your Bubble app's end-users and administrators to understand and navigate their respective interfaces. 

You can write user guides that explain how end-users can navigate and use the application effectively. 

Include step-by-step instructions, screenshots, and examples where necessary.

Cover common tasks, such as account registration, using key features, making transactions, and accessing support. 

Your admin guide should also detail the tools and functionalities available to administrators. 

In it, you must explain how to manage users, monitor performance, and perform administrative tasks.

You can include instructions for setting up and configuring the application, managing content, and ensuring security. 

To address common queries that users and administrators may encounter, you can also compile a list of frequently asked questions and their answers and incorporate screenshots, diagrams, and illustrations to enhance understanding. 

Visual aids and videos can be especially helpful when explaining complex processes.

Step 6: Compliance and Legal Considerations:

The first step you need to take at this stage is to conduct a thorough data mapping and inventory process to understand what types of data your app collects, stores, and processes.  

Document the purpose and legal basis for processing each type of data, then create a clear and comprehensive privacy policy that outlines how user data is collected, used, stored, and shared including the compliance of any third-party services or tools you integrated into your app. 

Make sure the policy document is easily accessible to users within the app and implement proper consent mechanisms that allow users to opt in and opt out of data collection and processing activities. 

Research the specific legal and data protection regulations that may apply to your app. 

This may include GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), or industry-specific regulations and conduct regular privacy, compliance and security assessments to identify and rectify compliance gaps or vulnerabilities

Step 7: Feedback and Iteration:

Continuously gather user feedback and iterate on your Bubble app's features.

Define your goals for collecting user feedback on the. Understand what aspects of the Bubble app you want to improve or which new features you plan to develop, and integrate the channels through which you'll collect feedback. 

Common options include in-app feedback forms, surveys, email, and App Store or Play Store reviews. 

Integrate these feedback mechanisms within your Bubble app to make it easy for users to provide input. 

Include a feedback button or form in a visible location. 

You can also use analytics tools to gather quantitative data on user behaviors', such as the Bubble app user flows, click-through rates, and feature usage. while studying use patterns and discovering areas of improvement.

Got a project idea? Get started with your no-code app using Nerdheadz's free project estimation tool.

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