It is harder to picture the entire Web design community as a single entity now, because it is fairly large; but when you look at it in terms of sub-communities, the picture gets a little brighter. The current design community is not worse than before; it is just a completely different beast. Many may not have thought the community would be as segregated as it is now, although our community is more active now as a whole, and more people are sharing their work and joining discussions. Web developing requires wearing so many different hats these days that you cannot assume a single website will fulfill all the needs of any Web professional.
Websites that deal solely with design theory have their niche, and practical tutorial sites have theirs; some websites combine these topics. Look around, and you will find many websites that are communities within communities that offer yet more places for designers and developers to interact with each other. If you do not like the content or the people on a particular website, you have enough options now to easily go elsewhere. As designers and developers start to work on platforms that extend beyond the Web, we can expect more and more sub-communities to spring up that will fall under the larger Web design community umbrella. For example, DeviantArt and StackOverflow are completely different websites but a Web professional might be interested in both; these websites are sub-communities within the larger community umbrella.
This is an exciting time to be a Web professional, given the opportunities we have to grow and to interact with others on a professional level. We must all take responsibility for helping each other out. Our community can be intimidating for newcomers, who may feel they have nothing to offer and so remain quiet; we should encourage everyone to share their experiences, no matter what level they are at. For example, if you have an idea or a design concept that you want to evolve a bit more, share it with someone or write a post about it. When we share our ideas and experiences it causes others to do the same, and encourages a spirit of exploration and inquiry that stops us from falling into the “I copy you, you copy me” cycle.
It takes the effort of many to continue to make this community great. If you want to see a higher quantity of quality articles online, do not hesitate to write some yourself. If you wish to get strong constructive criticism of your work, do not hesitate to offer some yourself. To improve ourselves professionally, we must take part in the areas of the community we wish to improve in.
We are a community of creatives, but more importantly, we are a community of people. The community we share is by no means perfect, but it is pushing itself to get better every day. I am happy that I am here for the ride.
Paul Scrivens – nothing more, nothing less.
"Find inspiration in your everyday life. Constantly search it out and you will expand your design repertoire immensely." Paul Scrivens is a self-taught designer, blogger and entrepreneur. After successfully founding and running a thriving host of online networks and blogs, Paul recently started work as Community Coordinator for the Marketing team at Media Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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