Manhattan Hydraulics

How we work


Manhattan Hydraulics
Documentation site for self-starting entrepreneurs
Documentation site for self-starting entrepreneurs


A fresh documentation site to help developers power their e-commerce sites with Swell


A powerful documentation site with an integrated search that helps developers find what they need quickly


Product strategy, product design

Swell is a headless e-commerce company that gives developers, agencies, and merchants around the world the tools and infrastructure to sell on the internet the way they want. We worked with them to design and build a documentation site that sets a new standard for documentation sites everywhere, containing all the tools and information developers need to start tinkering, implementing, and troubleshooting their ideas. Since then, we’ve continued our partnership to build tools, community features, and user-specific features to come.

Menu items home, guides, Storefront API, Admin API, Storefronts

Streamlining dense information

Swell’s documentation needed updating, spread across disparate platforms. Our team’s first task was to complete a comprehensive audit of all existing materials and those from competitors, partnering closely with the Swell team to workshop this into a user-friendly information architecture.

Swell's search page with filters and results for the term variant
Tooltip expanded and explaining what a Model Explorer is
A glossary page with search field

Connected concepts

Our search experience balances speed and exploration to help developers quickly find what they need while encouraging users to discover new content. In order to do so, we researched the best open-source search and analytics options in the business with our development partners at Sanctuary Computer.

Concepts from the documentation are tied to glossary and search results, helping our users develop links between complex concepts—literally and figuratively.

A codeblock showing different JSON objects
Light and dark mode switch

A scalable design system

Swell collaborated with Faculty to create a new brand identity. We extended Faculty’s work and designed a documentation site that balances warmth and utility. The fresh look sets Swell apart from competitors in a sea of highly-technical products. Light and dark mode allows users to customize their experience based on their viewing preference—especially those that might be working with these documents at length.

We designed the site just as developers would approach it—building components into a modular design system that would serve as the foundation for our tailored and scalable CMS. This design system has served as the foundation for all our subsequent work with Swell, flexing based on our needs while keeping the brand universally aligned.

Design components including cards, tags and codeblocks