Discuss Communities - Online Community Management Topics

Under design instead of over design

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Shawn Gossman

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Do we over design our online communities too much?

Over designing would refer to as focusing too much on making the community look as perfect as possible with many different visual aspects, sections to discuss at, and over designing the themes.

Could this overwhelm our current and upcoming user base?

Some might suggest we use the KISS approach on running communities. Keep it simple, stupid. By doing this, it allows members and potential members to jump right in without feeling overwhelmed.

What are your thoughts on this?
 
Are you talking about aesthetics or structural design?

For aesthetic design, feel free to go overboard and match your brand or audience. If anything, your brand, logo, and theming should be on point.

For structural design (like forum boards, categories, sections), this is most definitely a rookie mistake to overdesign and overbuild. One of the principles of good community management is to build to your need at that time. If you don't have a clear and independent need at that time, don't do it - you can aggregate other discussion and split off when needed. Your community can grow as your member needs grow, but too many webmasters try to build something when they don't have the conversations or discussions to justify it.
 
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