There are many websites with pretty much the same format ideas and even shopping cart system. To stand out from the crowd you may need to use some careful planning on your website and differentiate yourself from the plug in majority.
There are a variety of established methods that can be used to plan your website.
Creativity and idea generation
Try to remove any obstacles to creativity these are those subconscious blockers that can prevent us from some innovative ideas.
"A problem well stated is half solved."
A few techniques that my User Interface Design students at Griffith University are taught are -:
This works best in an inspirational environment. There has been some criticism of the results of sterile office brainstorming techniques. A good moderator is important.
Just sit back and wait for an answer to pop into your head.
Personas are examples of visitors to your website. They are ficticious customers that designers use to plan functionality. The persona will contain details of the individual, their marital status, occupation, habits preferences etc.
Testing whether the design is working. Don't depend on designers to judge their own designs.
Statistics can be helpful here but these are only available after the fact.
What can we build that will hold a visitor allow them to create a relationship with you.
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