What is a Bubble Diagram?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A bubble diagram is a diagram which represents information visually in the form of a series of bubbles. This type of diagram can be used to present a wide variety of information for the purpose of activities like presentations, planning out designs, and developing strategy. Many programs with features which allow diagramming have the capacity to produce bubble diagrams and it is also possible to buy specialized software. Some people prefer to produce such diagrams by hand.

A bubble diagram visually represents information in the form of a series of bubbles.
A bubble diagram visually represents information in the form of a series of bubbles.

One case in which the bubble diagram is widely used is in the development of plans for landscaping and architecture. The bubbles can be used to represent different kinds of spaces in a plan, varying in shape to represent features of greater or lesser importance and size. The bubble diagram can create a rough sense of flow which is used to develop a more refined plan.

Bubble diagrams may be useful in architecture.
Bubble diagrams may be useful in architecture.

In architecture, for example, an architect can create an approximate bubble diagram of a space while working with a client. The client could discuss the various features desired and how important they are, while the architect uses the bubbles to approximately represent the space and lay out other information. Using these bubbled plans, the architect can start to develop more precise plans which retain the traits deemed important during the client meeting. A bubble diagram floor plan, for example, can represent the flow of a space and provide information about the sizes of rooms relative to each other.

Such diagrams can also be used to represent information such as that being prepared for a presentation or laid out during a brainstorming session. Various bubbles can be scaled in size to reflect importance and connected in a variety of ways. This method of diagramming encourages more flowing logic and less linear thinking, which can be beneficial for certain types of development processes. People often use such diagrams during the early stages of product development to rough out thoughts and ideas for the purpose of sketching out a development plan.

Bubbles can be varied in size or shape, color coded, and marked in other ways to differentiate them from each other and create a hierarchy of information. When working with a bubble diagram, it is important to avoid going overboard with the presentation of information, because a diagram which is too visually busy can be difficult to read or understand. If numerous colors are used or all of the bubbles contain a great deal of information, the diagram can become visually overwhelming.

Bubble diagrams may be used during presentations.
Bubble diagrams may be used during presentations.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I've used bubble diagrams for over 20 years now and I find them invaluable to quickly test ideas and evaluate relationships between different spaces. With the iPad touchscreen being so successful, I've decided to create an iPad application that will let me do bubble diagramming and then develop them through to BIM software.

Wish me luck and keep your eye online for its release in the near future.


Good article! I want to create a bubble diagram for a project, but how? Can I use Excel? Hope you can help me with this.


I always thought a bubble diagram was a bit unprofessional. I guess I was wrong. I had no idea that you could get bubble diagram software!

Maybe I'll have to give it a chance on my next project. It might be kind of fun!


Using a bubble diagram is my favorite way to brainstorm. I remember learning how to do it in elementary school, and I still use it as an adult.

I like it because you can easily record a large number of thoughts in an organized fashion. It's easy to connect each thought to the ones that it's related to, without having to come up with the thoughts in any particular order.

When you are finished brainstorming, you can look at the bubbles you've created and actually make sense out of everything. As a writer, I use this technique often.


I think that the use of a bubble diagram is a great technique to use when presenting information to a person who is more of a visual person than an auditory one.

I'm one of these people. I can understand information better when it is presented visually. If someone were to just read me something, I wouldn't comprehend it nearly as well.

When I can see each bit of information being represented in its own bubble it makes a lot more sense to me.

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