Web design-related forums are a place where you interact with other designers, exchange ideas or discuss your first drafts. When you have a problem, you can post the issue, and then receive feedback on possible design or coding solutions from community members. This interaction is a great way to establish contacts and build relationships. Forums are used for networking and marketing purposes. They are practical places to solve problems and can serve as a form of social diversion.
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What is a good forum?
As designers and developers, we choose a forum depending on its ability to approach our needs. In best case the forum should be large enough, moderators should be cooperative and the posts should be responded quickly. There is nothing worse than posting a thread on a forum and no one replies to it.
In forums, users develop a reputation over time. The forum software can be used to track this. Some forums allow users to rate each other as well. Also, the more you participate and the more professional input you bring to the community, the more other members will recognize you and respect your opinion.
The quality of the community is reflected by the level and depth of responses from community members. How well the forum is run has a direct impact on our ability to use it. The forum needs good moderation and clear guidelines. Even the design of the forum plays a role in our decision to use it. After all, every forum has its own personality.
The diversity of content on forums is immense. Often, advice takes the form of Q&A-discussions, but it can also take the form of articles, and tutorials as well. Threaded discussions are a huge part of forums, but some forums have areas that operate differently — marketplaces are an example, or design showcases.
Content Management Systems often have great forums for web designers. E.g. if you’re a WordPress user, you may frequent the WordPress Forums. There you can pose installation questions, share your recent themes, extensions, modifications and plugins and ask for a help in building a WordPress-template.
The type of career path you’ve chosen may lead you to forums as well. If you’re a freelancer then you may frequent forums such as the Freelance Switch Forum.
While such types of forums are of use to a web designer, there are forums specifically designed for working web design professionals. We’ve compiled a list below. We’d like to hear your experiences with these or other web design forums.
Web Design Forums
Sitepoint has a huge community of members, with over 250,000 members. It’s an excellent place to network, get programming tips, or practical business advice. There is a thriving marketplace where you can buy or sell websites and designs, among other things. Sitepoint’s forum is well managed and well maintained. It has a clean flexible layout and sets a high quality standard for web design forums.
Designers Talk Forum
This is an active forum with a clean design. It has a handful of sections dedicated to web design, coding, and others. This forum also has areas dedicated to graphic design and other disciplines related to web design. There are over 25,000 members in this community.
Stylegala is a well-known site that promotes great site design, standards based practices, and news on client side solutions. The forum isn’t very active and the number of users isn’t disclosed. It does have a good clean design though. There are some popular discussions that you may want to participate in.
Dynamic Drive Forum
Digital Point Forum
This is a popular forum with a large user base, about half the size of Sitepoint. Its members are very active. Networking, conversations, advice, and more is thriving. It has sections on Design & Development, Search Engines, Business, Marketing, and others. It’s professionally managed and maintained. And has an active marketplace. The design is functional, though not remarkable.
This forum is focused on those that run sites. Web design is a big part of running a site. So, there are plenty of sections on that topic. Also, you may find sections like Internet Marketing and Making Money Online interesting as well. This forum has over 50,000 members. It’s also active as well. The design is clean, and sections like the marketplace have unique designs as well.
“Kirupa.com is a site that aims to make designers better developers, and maybe even help developers become better designers.” The forum has over 100,000 members. It’s a web design forum that has a strong trend toward Flash and Gaming. It’s a fun forum with enthusiastic and active users.
Dev Shed Forum
This is a large community with over 200,000 members. It focuses on programming mostly, though it does cover general web design topics, and graphic design as well. It is an active community, with multiple posts, and replies every day. Site design is simple and bland.
Basically, Chawlk unites the members and contributors of the 9rules community and offers them a compact platform for professional and not-so-professional discussions. Among other communities, you’ll also a find communities related to design, coding, blogging, technology, software etc. Interesting topics are selected by moderators and added into Editor’s picks.
This is an active forum focused on coding. Many of the languages covered are for web design. Under the Client Side section, there are topics on graphics and general web design issues as well. There are over 50,000 members and more than 5,000 active. The forum design is simple and usable.
This forum covers web design and development topics. They also cover Graphics, Internet Marketing and more. It has over 30,000 members. The forums are active. They are well moderated and have been successfully running the forum for over 5 years.
Website Design and Development are topics covered. It also covers Server Administration, Marketing, and Business topics. The design is a little bit distracting. This forum has over 30,000 members. The forums have regular active posts.
This forum is moderately active with over 25,000 members. There were quite a few posts without replies in important sections like Client & Server Side Scripting. There is more activity in Web Designs, HTML Reference, and CSS Section though. This forum covers many important areas of web design, though only some of the forum sections are active.
This forum is focused on web freelancers. It has over 15,000 members. The threads are active, and replies appear responsive. They cover web design and development topics. There is a popular marketplace. The forum has a bright inviting design.
This forum presents a friendly and inviting environment. There are over 15,000 members. The forums are active, with numerous lengthy threads where many members showed themselves to be helpful. Numerous website topics are covered. The site has some sections not seen on every web design forum, like Law, Ethics, and Green issues.
Web Design Forum
This forum organizes its topics into visualizing website design and coding websites. There are over 10,000 members. The posts are active, and there are plenty of lengthy tutorials and discussions. They have a well developed reputation system, and the forums are well moderated. The design is basic and stylistically dated, but the team running the site seams dedicated to standards based design.
Killersites are a network of websites branded cohesively that assist with educating on web design topics. Their forum is not the largest, or most active community, but it appears to be professionally managed. The sections on General Web Design, which includes topics such as CSS and HTML, are reasonably active for the size of its membership base. They have around 7,000 members.
If you’re looking to network with web designers from your area you may want to search for a forum that caters to your region. Webdesignerforum.co.uk is a forum from the United Kingdom. It has a little over 3,000 members. However, it’s extremely active for it’s size.
Since web design is a profession that touches on numerous skills, forums that are dedicated to areas such as graphic design may be helpful as well. Graphic-Forums.com, Talkgraphic and Renderosity are dedicated to graphics design and have a large community willing to help you out; there are a number of subsections dedicated to specific software you are using to create your works.