Designing UX to encourage community building


Hi all,

Does anybody know of any good resources (articles, websites, books, people) on designing a user experience that builds community/brings the user into a community?

More specific topics might be:

  • Inclusive design

  • Collaborative user experience

  • Encouraging participation and interaction with other users



I read this pretty interesting theory called Legitimate Peripheral Participation : how new users slowly get involved into the community. New users start by consuming content, and start contributing in small ways. Then they slowly contribute more content and eventually become the most advanced contributors. I imagine a spiral when I think of this.

Theres a paper that analyses this concept by taking Wikipedia users as an example.

The paper:

This will help you see features and possibilities of a community to this kind of participation happen.


Wonderful. Thank you so much!


Hi @nikamoe
Are you looking for information on designing a community/forum site (like this one) or are you looking at more general ways of encouraging collaboration in an existing environment?


Hi Hawk,

First, the brief backstory:
I’m looking to move from my current career in science education toward a career in UX/instructional design. As a part of this endeavor, I’m currently taking a class on online communities. I’ve joined the UX mastery community to learn more about UX (and also to deliberately experience an online community myself).

To get to your question:

I’m looking for information on either designing a site from scratch or using the right features available in existing environments. I’m interested in any resources that would be relevant.

What features of the design of an online site compels a user/learner want to join the community?
What features encourage the user/learner interact with other people?
Are there “best practices” when designing a shared user experience?


Cool, sounds like an interesting project – I can help you here.

Here is a webinar that I did on The UX of Persuasive Community Platforms

I also manage a community for community managers and selecting a platform is a regular discussion.

In short, building a platform from scratch is almost never a financially viable option.
This platform (Discourse) is my personal recommendation. It is open source, highly customisable, and already offers a pretty great UX.

Have a read through the resources above and let me know if you have specific questions. Maybe UX ones here and community ones at FeverBee.


Thanks, this is great!


Wow, Feverbee… Thanks @HAWK!


I actually left my job at FeverBee last July. I now work at Discourse, designing and building the software that we use here in this community.


Well congratulations on that too, this forum is really dope : )
My sporadic use of it has much less to do with the forum, more to do with all the kinds of work I’m performing. I always come back here when looking for particular UX related things.