Professional Web Design Forums

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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.

Try out Smashing Magazine’s brand new forum1! We are in open beta ’til january/5th 2009.

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.

Wordpress2

Content Management Systems often have great forums for web designers. E.g. if you’re a WordPress user, you may frequent the WordPress Forums3. 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 Forum4.

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 Forum5
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.

image6

Designers Talk Forum7
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.

Designers Talk Forum8

Stylegala Forum9
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.

Stlegala10

Dynamic Drive Forum11
Dynamic Drive has a growing library of freely available code snippets and packaged solutions. Their forums are a popular place to discuss web design coding issues and solutions. Most of the sections in the forum are dedicated to coding topics related to web design. There is a Javascript section, and a CSS section, for example.

image12

Digital Point Forum13
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.

Digital Point Forum14

Webmaster-Talk.com15
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.

image16

Kirupa.com17
“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.

Kirupa18

Dev Shed Forum19
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.

Dev Shed Forum20

Chawlk21
Basically, Chawlk unites the members and contributors of the 9rules22 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.

Chawlk23

CodingForums.com24
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.

image25

Ozzu Forum26
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.

Ozzu27

HTMLforum.com28
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.

HTMLforum29

Webdevforums30
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.

31Webdevforums

Talk Freelance
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.

Talk Freelance

Cre8asiteForums32
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.

Cre8asiteForums33

Web Design Forum34
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.

Web Design Forum35

Killersites Forum36
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.

image37

Webdesignerforum.co.uk38
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.

image39

Further forums

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.com40, Talkgraphic41 and Renderosity42 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.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://forum.smashingmagazine.com
  2. 2 http://wordpress.org/support/
  3. 3 http://wordpress.org/support/
  4. 4 http://forums.freelanceswitch.com/
  5. 5 http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/
  6. 6 http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/
  7. 7 http://www.designerstalk.com/forums/
  8. 8 http://www.designerstalk.com/forums/
  9. 9 http://forum.stylegala.com/
  10. 10 http://forum.stylegala.com/
  11. 11 http://www.dynamicdrive.com/forums/
  12. 12 http://www.dynamicdrive.com/forums/
  13. 13 http://forums.digitalpoint.com/
  14. 14 http://forums.digitalpoint.com/
  15. 15 http://www.webmaster-talk.com/
  16. 16 http://www.webmaster-talk.com/
  17. 17 http://www.kirupa.com/forum/
  18. 18 http://www.kirupa.com/forum/
  19. 19 http://forums.devshed.com/web-design-27/
  20. 20 http://forums.devshed.com/web-design-27/
  21. 21 http://chawlk.com
  22. 22 http://9rules.com/
  23. 23 http://chawlk.com
  24. 24 http://codingforums.com/
  25. 25 http://codingforums.com/
  26. 26 http://www.ozzu.com/
  27. 27 http://www.ozzu.com/
  28. 28 http://www.htmlforums.com/
  29. 29 http://www.htmlforums.com/
  30. 30 http://www.webdevforums.com/
  31. 31 http://www.webdevforums.com/
  32. 32 http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/
  33. 33 http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/
  34. 34 http://www.webdesignforums.net/forumhome.php?
  35. 35 http://www.webdesignforums.net/forumhome.php?
  36. 36 http://www.killersites.com/mvnforum/mvnforum/index
  37. 37 http://www.killersites.com/mvnforum/mvnforum/index
  38. 38 http://www.webdesignerforum.co.uk/
  39. 39 http://www.webdesignerforum.co.uk/
  40. 40 http://www.graphic-forums.com/
  41. 41 http://www.talkgraphics.com/
  42. 42 http://www.renderosity.com/mod/forumpro/index.php

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Sean Hodge is the creative mind behind AiBURN, a weblog about design, creativity, inspiration and graphics.

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  1. 1

    I can vouch for Webdesignerforum.co.uk, it’s fairly small but it has an amazing community. I’ve been a member there for just over 2 months now and I will not be going back to larger forums that have too many egos.

    It’s a shame I can’t vote for it in the poll.

  2. 2

    Can you maybe, as a follow-up to this post, have a look at the best designed Forum software? I’m looking to install one for my site but most of them are pretty standard and not very visually appealing – there are a couple of interesting ones from this post but it would be a great round-up feature in the future.

  3. 3

    Nice, as always. Thanks! A lot of forums i didn’t know about there.

  4. 4

    Talk Freelance is one of the best!

  5. 5

    I would like to recommend Accessify Forums for helping to create accessible sites.

  6. 6

    MintPages is a decent forum. The fact that it’s private makes it special. Not very busy these days though.

  7. 7

    Those are good forum for Designer !!! Nice Work !!
    But can somebpdy tell me which is the best tutorial site for web designer from the way they think how to place everything in their and much more details than other tutorial ?

  8. 8

    Jeff Andersen

    May 1, 2008 6:53 am

    Thanks a lot for featuring TalkFreelance.com, hope to see some of the knowledge of Smashing readers get carried over to our community! We’re in for a bunch of new changes over the next while, progressing as a bustling community with a wealth of knowledge to share. I actually had to double-take when I read Smashing and saw us there :)

  9. 9

    Professional? Really? The average user age on TalkFreelance is probably around 15, DigitialPoint is filled with scammers and MFAers…

    Anyway, a spelling correction for you..”The site has some sections not scene>/strong> on every web design forum, like Law, Ethics, and …” should be ‘seen.

  10. 10

    @Lucas – A post about Forum software is a good idea. I’ll look into it.

    @Chris – Thanks for the word choice correction.

    @Everybody – Thanks for leaving links and reviews on more forums. It’s great to hear about the forums Smashing readers are passionate about.

  11. 11

    Thanks a lot. Was looking out for such places on google, but i guess i can surely trust whatever smashingmagazine recommends.

    Thanks guys

  12. 12

    i guess qbn.com its not here because even though the guys are great artists all (or the 95%) are assholes
    they barely help you. every thing its about their egos and irony

    anywas they dont deserve it!

  13. 13

    If you want The Designer Forum then where else but The Designer Forum?

  14. 14

    I visit Dynamic Drive quite often. The userbase there is very active. There are only about 10-20 people that actively participate but among them you can get any question related to Flash/ CSS/ HTML/Javascript/PHP answered. There are other sections that I don’t use too so I don’t know about those.

    Other, larger, busier forums are filled with people who think they know how to code for the web properly and are only perpetuating bad standards.

    That’s why I like DD.

  15. 15

    most of the forums you linked are MORE related to SEO forums, design part is only a small part of that, we already know these forums. you would have mentioned FireworksGuru.com which is for Adobe Fireworks and related

  16. 16

    I know I’m going to sound like every other person above me mentioning a forum, but I feel that WebForumz.com should definitely be on that list. There’s over 13,000 members and the forums are incredibly active. Everyone is friendly and welcomed and the forum runs smoothly. There’s never spam to be found and it’s got a PR of 4, which is higher than some of the ones listed above.

    Edmund.

  17. 17

    R.I.P. Dreamless.org!

  18. 18

    this is a great list. once again, thumbs up to smashingmagazine. thanks.

  19. 19

    Good post, as usual, guys! Thanks so much!

  20. 20

    Matthew Magain

    May 1, 2008 5:45 pm

    Thanks for including SitePoint on your list, Sean! Our moderators work hard at creating a friendly and helpful community, so it’s nice to see someone recognizing that.

  21. 21

    Too many of the same forums … all with the same format. I think forums could work better than they do now and instead of addressing the design, how about the flow?

  22. 22

    very good list for webdesigners and webmasters, here i have a list of forum

  23. 23

    I search a nice open forum. Know someone something?

  24. 24

    The Sitepoint and Digital Point forums are always very helpful.

    You can find an answer to almost any question when searching through the thread archives first.

    Or do a Google search using:

    site:sitepoint.com/forums “your keywords”

    site:forums.digitalpoint.com “your keywords”

  25. 25

    Harry Roberts

    May 6, 2008 1:44 am

    Yeah, I regularly (daily) use estetica-design-forum.com.

    Also, mintpages.net is great – invite only but it’s a must for designers/developers of the higher ilk.

  26. 26

    I use SitePoint the most, definitely the best forums going.

  27. 27

    I am registered in few different forums and I normally find solutions of different problems on different forums so can’t vote for any one particular forum.

  28. 28

    Nice lists! But most forums visited only when people are asking technical questions, it’s rare to find web forum which focus on designers relationship.

  29. 29

    Thanks for the great article. I bumped into SmashMag by mistake while researching for web project. I’m so glad I did; I’ve been on here ever since. I spend a lot of time on Sitepoint and own a few of their books. I’ve learned tons there from the forums, design contests and it’s a cool place to just hang out. Everybody is super helpful. I’m glad that I know now that there are other places to go though. Thx again.

  30. 30

    Hi, nice article
    I go to simplelance.com too

  31. 31

    Hi, good info, and very professional forum, sitepoint must have info
    about

    creative design and web design like creative-works.us

    and designout.us

  32. 32

    great info, !!!! oh !!!! and the best one to logos, creative-works.us

  33. 33

    thanks. helpfull.
    but i saw forums with 10,000 members, but only 2-3,000 posts… wich means they probably got registered-spammed, so this number is not exact, lol

  34. 34

    My husband and I want to go on a awesome long vacation soon. We were looking for suggestions. Anyone have any awesome locations? A means to save a lot dough would be awesome as well. Vacationing is pricey these days.

  35. 35

    I m having a problem of disabling the background of my drop down flash
    button design in web,I mean I want to insert only a button in the web page,can you help me.

  36. 36

    I visit allgraphicdesign.com’s forums on a regular basis. They have a great community full of designers and developers from all walks of life ranging from the corporate folks to the freelancers. It’s a great community! Anyone else have a hard time keeping up with all the communities that are out there tho?

  37. 37

    I’m new here on the forum, found it by searching google. I look forward to chatting about various topics with all of you.

  38. 38

    very helpful site. thanks for the info. look forward to more info and meeting new people

  39. 39

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  40. 40

    comments closed: too much spam here

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