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5 Best Sites for Getting Your Design Questions Answered

When you have complicated questions that can’t be solved merely by googling, one option is to seek help in question-and-answer sites (Q&A sites), forums, and other types of community websites that are frequented by professionals. In this article, I’ll discuss the 5 best community websites to turn to when you are in need of answers to your design-related questions. These sites are where many helpful and supportive professional designers congregate, thus giving you the best chances of obtaining the information and advice you’re looking for.

1. Stack Exchange

Question and Answer site: Stack Exchange Stack Exchange is a vast network of social Q&A sites for professionals. Collectively, the network has 5.5 million users and has produced 15 million answers. There are over a hundred Stack Exchange sites. Here are the ones that are relevant to designers:

Site # of Users Examples of Questions
Graphic Design 15,000
User Experience 36,000
Freelancing 2,400
The Workplace for office- and team-related issues 14,000
Personal Productivity 7,700
  • How do I get myself out of bed in the morning?
  • How do I deal with distractions when working on a computer?
Stack Overflow for CSS and HTML questions 3,000,000

2. Reddit

Reddit Reddit is an extremely huge community site. It’s an amazing source of community-vetted content (as well as distractions, at least in my case). Reddit has over 7,000 community sections that are called subreddits in Reddit-speak.

There are plenty of subreddits for designers, and not only will you be able to find answers to your questions there, but you’ll also find a ton of interesting content that are pertinent to your interests. Finding the right subreddit can be tricky though, so use the site’s Subreddits Search page and be sure to read the rules — usually they’re posted in the right-side of the subreddit page — to make sure you’re in the right place. A few design-related subreddits are:

Subreddit # of Subscribers Examples of Questions
Design 89,000
Typography 29,000
Design Critiques 13,000
Web Design 98,000
CSS 1,000

3. Quora

Question and Answer site: Quora Quora is a question-and-answer site frequented by industry leaders and seasoned professionals. But in order to access all question threads in Quora, you have to sign up for a Quora account. In Quora, questions can be tagged under multiple topics.

Here are a few topics designers will find interesting:

Topic # of Followers Examples of Questions
Design 968,400
Graphic Design 48,300
Typography 87,800
Adobe Photoshop 186,100
Web Design 346,000

4. SitePoint Forums

SitePoint Forums SitePoint has one of the oldest and, in my opinion (you might disagree with me), still the best online forum for web designers. The SitePoint Forums has over 746,500 users and over 4 million threads. It’s a great place to hang out in and get help from experienced designers. Here are a few sub-forums on SitePoint that designers will be interested in:

Sub-forum # of Threads Examples of Questions
Graphics 24,600
Website Design 16,400
Getting Started with Web Design 11,000
CSS & Page Layout 50,300

Tip: By the way, another great web design forum you can visit is the CSS-Tricks forums.

5. Forrst

Forrst Forrst is a community site for design and code feedback. Think of it as the lovechild of Dribbble (show off your work) and Quora (get help/feedback from the community). And just like Dribbble/Quora, access to Forrst’s content is controlled by the need to get an account.

Example questions on Forrst:

  • Where do you go for design inspirations?
  • Typography: Have I got the mix right?

Tips for Getting Your Questions Answered

Participating in a community website as a newcomer can be daunting. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re trying to get questions answered.

Try Your Best to Answer Your Own Question First

Before seeking help from others — which is something that requires their time — it’s a good idea to do some quick Google searches first to see if you can find resources that have already addressed the issue you’re trying to resolve.

Also search the community site you’re thinking of posting your question on because there might already be threads that talk about the same thing you’d like to discuss. It’s better to add to the discussion in an existing thread, rather than to duplicate the discussion on a new one, because duplicate threads cause fragmentation of information. If the community site doesn’t have a search feature, or if their search feature isn’t very good, you can use Google to search the site by using the following syntax: {your search term}

For example, if I wanted to search Design Instruct for the term “portfolio site”, I would use this search phrase: portfolio site

This will limit the search results within Design Instruct: design questions 06googlesitesearch Try your absolute best to see if your question has already been addressed.

This shows courtesy towards the community website’s members, because just imagine how many times they’ve seen (and answered) the same basic questions.

Be as Detailed as Possible

As Jerry Maguire said:

“Help me… help you.” “Help me, help you.”

Make it easy for others to offer assistance by being as detailed and thorough as possible when asking your questions.

Elaborate on your question and provide tangential information such as what web browser/operating system/software version you’re using, screenshots of the issue you’re having, what you already know about the issue, etc.

Read the Rules

Community websites will usually have a set of rules and etiquette guidelines. These aren’t hard to find because they’re generally located in prominent places so that anyone who decides to join the community has ready-access to them.

Reading the rules will help you get your answers addressed more quickly because members are often unwilling to participate in discussions that don’t fall in line with their community’s guidelines. Also, reading the community’s set of rules will often provide you with tips to get the most out of your experience, such as suggestions on where you might find your answer and where/how to post your question effectively.

Post Your Question in the Right Place

If you don’t post in the appropriate site (or section of that site), people who might be able to help you may not see your post.

In addition, your question might be removed by site moderators.

Please Be Nice

When I’m really pressed for a deadline or when I’m extremely frustrated that something isn’t working the way I want it to, I can sometimes be rude and snippy to those around me. (I’m sorry.) A bad attitude won’t get any offers of assistance in community sites because — just like in any social situation, online or offline — people are less willing to give their time and knowledge when an individual is being discourteous.

Being patient and maintaining your composure even when you’re stressed out and in desperate need of getting something resolved will help you get your answers more swiftly. How do you get your design questions answered? What sites do you regularly visit to get design-related help?

Tell us in the comments.

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