Are you overlooking something important that you could use to advance your design career?
If you’re not participating in online forums, you may be missing out.There are a significant number of benefits to being part of a high quality online design forum.
In this post, I’ll share the benefits of taking part in online design forums and I’ll explain how to find a good one. I’ll also list 12 popular online design forums for you to consider.
Why Join an Online Forum?
“I’m busy,” you say. “Why should I participate in a forum?”
Online forums offer a number of significant benefits to their members, often at a little or no cost. Here are some of the benefits to joining an online forum:
- Networking–Get to know other designers and those in related fields.
- Learning–Many forums also provide online classes. Plus, advice from the forums themselves provides an opportunity for learning.
- Jobs–Some forums provide a private, members only job board or allow members to post opportunities.
- Feedback–Many online forums allow members to post links to their designs and/or sites so that other members can provide feedback.
Before jumping into online forum participation, it sometimes helps to lurk (watch conversations without taking part) for a while before becoming active. Lurking will allow you to get an idea of how the forum community interacts.
In most forums, it’s a good idea to help others when you can. Don’t just show up and ask others to help you without giving anything in return.
Of course, to get the benefits from joining an online forum it’s important that you select a good one.
How to Find a Good Online Forum
There are a ton of online forums, but not all forums are created equal. It’s important to look for a high quality forum.
Here are some characteristics of a high quality online forum:
- Spam Free–The forum should be moderated and spam should be removed as soon as it appears.
- Active Membership–Members should be interacting frequently. If you see that nothing new has been posted for a month, the forum is probably dying out.
- Substantial Number of Members–In most cases, it takes a large number of members to keep a forum going. A forum with only a few hundred members may not survive.
Be sure to read and follow the forum rules of any forum that you join before taking part.
12 Popular Online Forums
In alphabetical order, here are 12 popular forums for web designers, developers, and other web professionals:
- Adobe Forums–The forums are sponsored by the Adobe product line, but very helpful nonetheless. The sections on Design, Print Design, Web Design, and Typography should be of particular interest to designers.
- designerstalk–This popular forum has a large and active membership (over 400,000 designers). There always seems to be someone online.
- Dev Shed Forums–This active forum has discussion areas ranging from programming to web design to databases and more.
- Digital Point–This is a well-known forum with an emphasis on search engines, marketing, and other website issues that may also be of interest to designers.
- estetica design forum–A medium-sized forum designed especially for designers, with a section especially for web design and another section for print and graphic design.
- graphic design forum–This medium-sized forum is geared specifically to graphic designers and other design-related professions.
- Killersites.com–These web design forums are provided in conjunction with the Killersites.com tutorial website. In addition to design topics, there is also a section on programming.
- Kirupa.com–There are over 100,000 members in this active forum for designers and developers.
- SitePoint Forums–Another large and very prominent forum geared to webmasters and other web professionals. This extremely popular site is also the source of some authoritative books and tutorials.
- WebDesignForums.net–This forum contains helpful tips and advice for web designers. It includes a section on web marketing and one on hosting and server setup.
- Web Designer Forum–The medium sized design forum has a very active and loyal community.
- WebmasterTalkForums–Another medium-sized site geared to webmasters that may also be of interest to designers and developers.
Have you joined any online forums? Which ones are your favorites?
Share your answers in the comments.
Image by the Italian voice