When you look at most forum designs they are all the same basic boring layout. Header, Breadcrumb, Forum List/Thread, Statistics, Footer. Very few sites go beyond this basic layout. The only one I know that did it successfully is SitePoint where they have a two column design on their main forum page (linked below) but lose it on subsequent pages. Nor do they go beyond simply adding a new column and bring some choice content to the front. It still has the same basic top to bottom layout. Add to this the fact that many sites simply add a two or three column portal page as their main entrance page and everything starts to look the same. Is it really useability that is preventing people from moving away from this or is it conformity? Do we really need the two/three column homepage with a single column or can a true double column layout be carried throughout? I am talking more than simply having a tower advertisement on the left or the right. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this and if anyone has gone with a truly unconventional community forum design. You get a little variety in blogs but they still follow a standard cookie cutter pattern. So I guess my main question is where is the real design in online communities? reference link: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/index.php?