Top 10 Design Communities for UX Designers
Most experienced UX designers are well aware that there are several large design communities out there, and they might even be part of a design community center or two. But do you know why it is critically important for a UX designer to participate in the UX design community and the ecosystem around it? The primary reason is that you can ask the most basic or most complex UX design questions and a community designer will promptly pop up to answer it for you - or at least guide to you a previous discussion thread where your question has been answered by someone else in the UX community. Another reason might be to search for scripts and other resources that you're not able to find elsewhere on the web. Yet another reason is that you are seeking feedback for your own UX design projects and ideas in order to validate them. Whatever the reason, these design community centers for UX designers are excellent forums for learning, sharing, and growing in your chosen career path.
In this article, we look at the Top 10 design communities for UX designers that will help you achieve those broader objectives and your own personal goals. And we'll tell you exactly why these design community centers or hubs are in the Top 10 list.
One of the broadest platforms for any type of design, including UX design, is Dribbble. It offers one of the widest ranges of features, starting from basic learning all the way to professional showcases from the world's most creative minds in UX design. Here are some of the reasons why Dribbble is one of the largest UX communities around:
- You can learn design
- You can showcase your work by publishing a portfolio of your work
- There are freelance and project-based jobs to apply for
- Top design companies often look for talent here
- It only costs $12 a month to become a paid member, and $5 a month if you pay annually
One major drawback is that the site takes a little getting used to because there are so many offerings. It can take a while to get the hang of finding what you need and getting there.
In an attempt to be exclusive to the UX designer community, Designer Hangouts has an invite-only policy to become a community member. However, it does have an option to request an invite, after which your profile will be vetted and you'll be invited to join. The community currently has a little under 20,000 members, as advertised on the site. Designer Hangouts offers the following features and benefits:
- Live virtual events and recordings of professional UX designers sharing their knowledge and experience
- Partnership opportunities for design companies
- A job board where members can look for potential work
The invite-only angle is a major roadblock if you need to join quickly or for a specific purpose. And there's no guarantee that you'll be accepted. Moreover, it's still a relatively small community compared to sites like Dribbble, which is now over a decade old.
Interaction Design Foundation
One of the chief benefits of joining this UX community is that there are rich learning sources for you to constantly up-skill yourself to meet the challenges of an evolving UX job market. They also organize UX boot camps where you'll be coached by a mentor and eventually be hooked up with a recruiter. If you're new to the field, this is exactly what you might be looking for. Here are some other key features of this platform:
- One of the oldest UX design communities around
- Highly regarded by Fortune companies and personalities such as Don Norman, who coined the phrase "user experience"
- Gaining exposure for your work in front of the top design teams in the world
- Get certified in industry-recognized courses to advanced your career
- Virtual presence, along with hundreds of physical groups that you can join in your country and city
Users on Reddit and other platforms have said that IDF courses were "super weak" and that they "don't teach you design tools", but the overwhelming majority of reviews is positive, with users saying that it's "great for anyone seeking a career shift into UX" and that "the content is relevant, the site works great!"
The UX Mastery community is more of a discussion forum, not unlike Reddit, where UX designers gather to share ideas, talk about UX boot camps, discuss various aspects of UI and UX design, and even ask for inspiration from other members of the community.
The forum-like layout of the website is relatively simple and it's easy to search for users and groups you might be interested in following. Badges are given out to contributing members, and the forum is well-categorized so you know where to find discussions on anything you need. You'll need to register to ask questions, reply, and comment, but the process is simple enough.
The only downside is the lack of training courses or specific resources. UX designers on the platform will link you to the best resources but they're not baked into the site like other major UX designer community centers.
UX Design Community
The UX Design Community is Slack-based but it has some interesting channels for events, critiquing, and inspirations. Essentially, it's a collection of Slack channels where you can find various things you might need. If you want to discuss a particular UX design philosophy, seek inspiration for your work, have someone critique your design, and so on, it's a great place to go to.
UX Design Community currently boasts about 6000 members so it's not as large as some of the other popular ones, but you'll see a lot of familiar faces and usernames once you start using the platform.
User Experience on Stack Exchange
The User Experience forum on Stack Exchange is once again a Reddit-like forum where you can search for specific threads. You can navigate directly to the Questions section, look for specific users, find Unanswered questions, etc. The best aspect is that threads are tagged so you can easily find what you're looking for. You can also initiate a discussion by hitting the Ask Question button. However, make sure the question hasn't already been answered elsewhere on the forum. As with most forums, the moderators expect users to read earlier discussions before posting a question.
Again, there aren't any dedicated sections for course information or other learning resources other than what the UX design community members post in various threads. However, if interaction with other UX professionals is what you seek, this could be the ideal platform for you.
This platform is a blend of a forum-style website and other resources such as a podcast, a job board, as well as the opportunity to advertise on the site. It's a relatively unknown site but it does have plenty of users and several useful resources for UX professionals who need to get an entry into a junior-level position or simply want to engage with community members.
The only disadvantage, as mentioned, is that it's not a hugely popular website. Nevertheless, it's a growing one with some solid discussions around UX and some very helpful resources for someone who's looking to make contacts or find a position in a new company.
Hacker News - YCombinator
This platform contains a fairly diverse range of topic areas that also includes UX design. It's more of a repository of news-related articles that the site links to. Anyone can become a member after creating a login. Once you're registered, you can upvote on a particular topic, comment on it, etc. The upvote system ensures that the most relevant and hotly-discussed topics rise to the top.
As a platform for educational resources, it's not of much use to UX designers. But it does help you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest happenings and comment alongside other professionals to get their thoughts on various matters.
Design Thinking Group
This is a LinkedIn group that currently numbers over 68,000 members. It is designed for UX designers and creative professionals to further their careers and for companies to spot new talent for their design teams. The group regularly hosts activities that companies can sponsor to get more exposure for their brands. The platform frowns on members who are just looking to scrape contacts for their business or promote their business; such members are removed and banned from joining again.
The drawback of this platform is that you have to get on a waiting list before being admitted to the group. You also need to "contribute tangible value" to the group, which may be in the form of financial contributions, inviting new members, and posting useful comments.
Primarily meant for women and non-binary folks, this unique UX group is committed to helping members network their way into successful projects and jobs. The UX Mentorship program is part of that initiative. They are comprised of physical chapters in various locations in the U.S. and internationally. It's a relatively small UX community with around 3,000 followers on Twitter but it's quite active and they regularly host virtual and in-person meetups in different parts of the world to showcase exemplary talent.
Unfortunately, this platform is only for women and non-binary folks so men aren't allowed to join. However, if you identify yourself as non-binary or a woman, it's a great place to network and meet like-minded UX designers.
This is, of course, not a comprehensive list of UX design communities; merely the ones we think are worth your consideration. Whether you're looking for a job, need to network with UX professionals, get questions answered, or just share your own expertise, these platforms are the best for such activities.
We'd also like to highlight the benefits of using a tool like Wondershare Mockitt for your UX design needs. The rapid prototyping capabilities combined with the collaborative cloud environment and extensive asset libraries make it one of the most compelling UI/UX design and prototyping platforms available today. Just use your browser to set up a login and you're ready to go, with a free account for up to 3 projects with 10 screens each and an option to upgrade to an affordable plan if you like the cloud-based design platform. It's a great way to set up and share your portfolio with potential employees and other members of the UX design community.