Entering a new profession can easily become a stressful experience—learning the ins and outs of new terminology, charting a career path, building a network, not to mention mastering the day-to-day of your role. The world of tech presents its own unique challenges, as best practices are constantly evolving alongside technological advances.
One of the best ways to seek out like-minded individuals to have in your corner is by participating in an online community or group. For a profession that meets at the intersection of art and technology, online communities for UX/UI enthusiasts provide visual inspiration, answers to complex technical questions, and mentorship and career advice. Depending on exactly what you’re looking for, communities can take several forms, from quick tips and discussion forums to a relaxed place to share inside jokes and memes.
In this article, we’re taking a tour of the online UX/UI ecosystem to highlight some of the most popular (and our personal favorite) communities on the web!
Why Join an Online UX/UI Design Community?
While rules and policies (written and unwritten) can be lengthy, the benefits of participating in, or even just visiting, an online group far outweigh the drawbacks. Here are a few reasons you might want to consider diving in:
- Stay Up-to-Date – Visual trends are changing constantly and clients always expect designers to incorporate the latest technological flourishes and a fresh and clean look. Keeping up with what your colleagues in the industry are doing can assist you in delivering products that meet and exceed expectations.
- Seek Support – When you’re at your wits end with a tool or you’ve encountered a problem no one else on your team can solve, groups are there to help! Experts can be found all over the web and are often willing to listen and work through the toughest of design and software challenges.
- Find a Mentor – Making meaningful connections are easier than ever thanks to the web. Designers are no longer bound by geography when it comes to finding an individual who can offer advice and guidance as you progress through the industry.
- Land Your Next Role – As a profession with a higher than average amount of freelancers, building an online presence is vital. Carving out a niche or showing off your skillset online can be your ticket to your next big client or landing a role at a major firm; you never know where recruiters might be lurking.
- Grow Your Knowledge Base – The learning curve for incorporating design principles with research insights and the latest mobile and desktop trends can be steeper than it appears. Many of the platforms we’ve outlined below are dedicated to helping users through their design journey, providing helpful tips, giving insightful answers, and even offering free courses.
- Have Fun! – No one can truly relate to the trials and tribulations designers go through than their colleagues in the industry! An online group is a great place to connect, commiserate, and share the many ups and downs of your professional journey.
Top 10 Most Popular Online Groups for UX/UI Professionals and Designers
Imagine a social media site but only for designers. You might create something that looks a lot like Behance. This platform is geared towards the visual, with the ability to view other designers’ projects sorted by platform and type of creation. The UX/UI category is full of beautiful examples to inspire for projects on mobile devices, desktop screens, and more. Also available are livestream demonstrations of UI/UX software and a job board page for positions across the country.
Dribble is another social media-esque platform for design professionals, but with the mission in mind of helping professionals form teams and collaborate. Their offerings include thousands of inspirational examples, a weekly warm-up to keep your skills sharp, live workshops, and one of the biggest designer job boards around for agencies and freelance work. Users have the option of creating a pro account, which allows them to create an instant portfolio on the site, promote and sell their design goods, and grants access to additional freelance opportunities.
You might’ve heard of this one. It’s one of the absolute biggest sites on the web by traffic volume. Reddit essentially boils down to a series of forums, broken up by topics called “subreddits.” It caters to every interest under the Sun, and UX/UI is no different! Users on the site are there to answer career questions, share design tips, critique portfolios, and generally build community. Subreddits with tens of thousands of members include r/userexperience, r/UXDesign, r/UIDesign, and r/designthought.
Slack has exploded in popularity, known for its use by corporations of all sizes to keep teams connected virtually. Each organization gets its own “workspace” with the ability to directly message users and create channels for conversations. The product has proven so popular and intuitive that groups of all kinds are using it to create public and private spaces to collaborate and create community. Joining a design slack group is a great way to foster informal relationships with those in the industry. Here’s an extensive list of design slack communities, sortable by location and group type. Some of the groups include “Austin UX,” “Blacks Who Design,” and “Getting Started in UX Design.”
It’s a “UX Designers’ best-kept secret,” at least according to their tagline. Designer Hangout is an invite-only community of more than 18,000 UX practitioners across the country. They offer real-time chat to help answer burning questions and uncover insights. In addition, DH features a job board, local events, live influencer Q&As, and a high-quality newsletter. Each member is vetted to ensure interactions stay high quality. And the best part? It’s completely free to join!
Design Thinking Group (LinkedIn)
LinkedIn offers several groups for professionals to gather, but we think this is a great one to start with for those in the UX/UI world. The invite-only group of 68,000 is quite massive, which means there’s always someone willing to jump into a conversation or connect with. Thanks to LinkedIn’s built-in features, you can see other group members who share your specific industry or location and reach out based on that shared connection. No other platform is quite as geared towards professional growth, so this is a great place to gain career tips and network for job opportunities and mentorship.
UX Mastery, with its large catalog of resource articles, is a great site in and of itself. One of our favorite parts of the site is their community forums. The rapidly growing discussion base is where experts come to gather and is sortable by category and tag. Topics of discussion include design thinking, feedback and problem solving, careers and mentoring, tools, and more.
Give Good UX Company of Friends (Facebook Group)
As you can guess by the title, here’s where to turn if you’re looking for one of the friendliest places to hang out on the web. An offshoot of Give Good UX, a series of courses by Joe Natoli, this Facebook group is a place to share UX and design struggles with others and find support in educational and career goals. Community members share daily advice and look to lift each other up through their work. More than 6,000 professionals and amateur designers have found motivation through this invite-only group!
HexagonUX is a non-profit aimed to empower and support women and non-binary people working in the UX space. They offer a full slate of events, both in-person and online through regional physical chapters. One of the highlights of this community is the guided 3-month mentorship program, which matches mentees 1-on-1 for skills training, career advice, and resources. The group also incorporates interpersonal and soft skills training into their events, with the ultimate goal of creating a safe and inclusive space for learning and exchanging ideas.
User Experience Stack Exchange
While we love this site for its well-known Stack Overflow section geared towards coders, did you know that it also offers communities for 177 different professions? Included within that is a Stack Exchange for UX/UI professionals! This Reddit-like site features discussion forums where users can ask questions and seek input from experts in the field. More than 30 thousand questions have been answered so far, so chances are good you can find a solution here. Just don’t forget to pay it forward!
Beginning a Career in UX/UI Design
We hope this article serves as a starting guide map for finding the perfect online UX/UI community! Interested in learning more about starting in the industry? Check out additional resources below:
- Our complete guide to creating your UX/UI Portfolio with templates and examples
- Looking to enhance your portfolio with additional projects or gain more educational experience? Check out our comprehensive UX/UI bootcamp listings and learn more about what these programs entail
- Explore industry tools you might come across when designing or developing sites like Bootstrap, HTML/CSS, React, and more.
- Discover career opportunities for different positions within the industry, such as designer, front-end developer, web developer, product manager, UX researcher, or graphic designer
- Read about the top 5 web design tools you need to know and check out which tech jobs are in high demand for 2022 and command the highest salaries.
- Prepare for all elements of your career in tech with our top tips for deciding between a bootcamp or college, and our best practice guides for acing your technical resume and technical interview