DesignerNews is almost dead

4 years ago from Riho Kroll, Lead UI/UX Designer

  • George Bartz, 4 years ago

    I'll throw my two cents in.

    Between 2016 and 2018 (I know that is fairly late to the game of DN), I was a daily visitor that looked forward to the new, and relevant content. The discussions were insightful and always left me with a new perspective on a given topic. In 2019, all of that slowly faded away and so did a good amount of users.

    Assumption #1

    The top players stopped contributing to the site over a period of time which had a greater effect than could have been expected. I remember seeing stats for reddit that showed a small fraction of redditors generate the majority of the content and discussions that drive engagement.

    Assumption #2

    Moderation/moderators are key to the success of a community. I think DesignerNews got hit by the perfect storm of system changes, a loss of the key contributors to the site, and a lack of proper moderation. This opened the doors for the flood of self-promotion and surface level content that gets old after a month or two.

    Assumption #3

    People have to make money. It's no secret that DN made it's money through the job board. As long as enough people were visiting the site, job board impressions and visits were enough to keep the employers happy. If the revenue stream is happy then DN is successful. If the business model is to keep the job boards full, the content portion of the site will ultimately fail.


    The top contributors matured as designers and found new areas to focus on. I think once you get past a certain level in your career, you care less about the trends and updates that used to inspire you and they are solving bigger, much more specific design problems. Where I am now, I don't necessarily care about the latest trends or the best tool to build a design system. I want to know how you overcame roadblocks to implementing a design system. Those questions aren't answered in "Best Design Systems of 2019." They are answered in deep discussions with experienced designers who want to share their stories and help others.

    How can DN get back to it's roots?

    I'd say go private again, shrink the user base, and get a team of moderators involved to seed discussions. This would push a lot of the self-promo, thoughtless content out, and could bring back designers that bring authentic content to the site. A random AMA and banning Medium articles is a quick win that doesn't have much impact on the culture.

    I really do hope for the best but it's going to take a big change to see a big change.

    Until then, I've gone back to the tried and true RSS feed. I found that it's hard to find a good discussion online so I cut the middle man and curated my feeds directly from the source.

    3 points