Grace Ling

Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2022.

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Sharon Hsiao


Online communities have been a major part of how people connect with others to learn about different perspectives. In this thesis, I examine ways people use Discord, one of the major online community platforms, to learn UX design.

In this research, I designed a study, collected data from the Design Buddies Discord, and conducted semantic content analysis to investigate the community learners, job seekers, and mentors’ dialogues. I then used social network analysis to uncover patterns in connections. Lastly, I conducted a qualitative evaluation to survey and to understand the usefulness of Design Buddies.

The results show that a balance between topic-focused and social discussions is essential to creating a strong community centered around design. Mentors formed a micro-community around sharing knowledge and social discussions. Members of the study found useful resources, more about UX design as well as different fields of design beyond UX design, and social connections in Design Buddies.