When we launched Highrise, we gave the forums a new look. We’ve since redone the Basecamp Forums too.

The old forums were heavy on borders and grids — “chartjunk” in Tuftese.

We customized the new forums, which are powered by Beast, so they’re cleaner and more open.

A public space
We give the forums a different look than our apps or marketing sites because we want people to feel like the forums are in a separate place — somewhere far away from the products they use everyday. The forums are a place where people can talk about the product without being inside it.

So we went with the clean, white, open design you see above. There’s something nice about having an open white space for people to discuss their issues and ideas. It gives the forums an “anything is possible” blank page feel.

Plus, it increases people’s sense of ownership too. The pages are dominated by customers: their avatars, their names, and their thoughts. With the old forums, it felt like people’s info and posts took a backseat.

A-B threads
Another look: Here’s what threads looked like before and how they look now…

A sample thread at the old forums.

A sample thread at the new forums.