Web Design Brainstorming & 10 Tips for Effective Brainstorming Sessions

Are you designing an amazing website? Brainstorming is a huge step in the process. It’s better to brainstorm first and design later because it allows you to stay focused on what’s important. Designers can get stuck in their own heads or start obsessing over tiny details unrelated to the site’s overall design. By brainstorming first, you’ll have a better idea of what needs your attention and what doesn’t need any work at all!

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What is a web design brainstorming session?

Brainstorming is a huge step in the web design process and can be crucial for web designers. Before I go into more details oh how brainstorm in web design is essential. I want to explain what brainstorming is.

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is the process of coming up with new ideas and possibilities before a final decision has been made.

It is a technique teams use to generate creative ideas when solving problems. Brainstorming is when teams or creative professionals ask “How Might We” questions that help produce diverse breakthrough solutions for businesses.

An analogy that I like to tell different people about brainstorming usually.

Brainstorming sessions are a storm of new ideas and creative thinking. There will be sparks, there’ll be flashes, but the key to brainstorming is not giving up on any idea that crosses your mind. If you have an idea for how we can make a solution better in some way or another, don’t think twice about it – just share! 

Brainstorms thrive off sharing thoughts- if every idea were immediately shut down before anyone had time to process, then all our good work would go nowhere fast.

Brainstorming sessions always produce surprises and inspiration (and sometimes thunder!), which means that as long as nobody gets discouraged from bringing their ideas out into the open, great things happen!

Combining the brainstorming process with web design

Imagine, instead of directing jumping into designing a website straight up in adobe xd, you look at the different competitor’s website and brainstorm all the possible designs.

The brainstorming process will help you develop a lot more ideas and not settle for the first one that is thought up. Once you know what your website could be, you can start designing in adobe xd.

Benefits of brainstorming

Boosts creative ideas: Brainstorming sessions are a storm of new ideas and creative thinking. There will be sparks, there’ll be flashes, but the key to brainstorming is not giving up on any idea that crosses your mind. If you have an idea for how we can make this better in some way or another, don’t think twice about it – just share!

Brainstorms thrive off sharing thoughts- if every idea were immediately shut down before anyone had time to process, then all our good work would go nowhere fast.

Stakeholder Involvement: One way to get more ideas in a brainstorming session is by getting some of them directly from the people who will be impacted. It’s much easier for stakeholders to contribute their own thoughts and feelings about what you’re trying to accomplish, which may help your idea resonate with them better than it would if you were just guessing at best guesses based on research alone.

Provides a different perspective: This is a welcome benefit of brainstorming in the web design process as sometimes we, the designers, can just stick to one thing which we think is simple and easy to do.

Brainstorming with different people, team members, and even stakeholders will provide you with a different perspective which may help you think out of the box and design something revolutionary.

What are the different types of brainstorming?

  • Individual Brainstorming
  • Group Brainstorming

Individual Brainstorming

Individual brainstorming is best when you’re working by yourself or have an idea that doesn’t need any input from others.

There are different type of people who might be reading this article and if you are one of those who work alone or is a freelance web designer. This is the type of brainstorming that will fit your design process.

The only downfall of individual brainstorming is the number of ideas; groups often generate more ideas (and more diverse ideas). However, don’t let this stop you; I know that as a web designer working alone, we can also develop tons of new innovative ideas.

Later in this article, I will share tips on how you can do brainstorming effectively as an individual.

Group Brainstorming

Group brainstorming is like the ultimate team-building exercise.

Theoretically, it’s a social experience and an effective one because everyone gets to throw their ideas into the hat and share them with other members of your group.

The power of group brainstorming is that the more participants you have, the more significant potential there is for synergy. Two or more minds are better than one because they can bring together different perspectives on a problem and combine them into something new or unexpected – an idea that might never have come up otherwise.

How to brainstorm a website design

You’ve come up with a great idea for a web design project, but you’re not sure what to do next. You need help figuring out how exactly your site should be designed – and that’s where brainstorming comes in.

The process is surprisingly easy when the right steps are taken, so here they are:

Step 1: Prepare yourself or the group

It’s evident that brainstorm is about generating, discarding and converging ideas to find the one which will be most effective. It helps to get people into the right frame of mind before they start throwing around their best thoughts for everyone else to consider.

Step 2: Establish a goal

Craig Kampes, a professor of marketing and strategy at Drexel University, points out that brainstorming has its merits, but it should always be aimed in one direction. He says, “It’s critical that in all cases a strategy is set, and all ideas track back to it.” This allows for an organised meeting with goals clearly defined.

Step 3: Get the sticky notes

I find the sticky notes I have at my desk fascinating. They’re small, colorful and get me into a great mood to come up with new ideas! Use them for your brainstorming session. Write different ideas yourselves or distribute them among team members to write some on it!

One of the main benefits I have come across while using sticky notes is that they provide you with limited space to write down an idea. In the brainstorming session, we need to come up with different ideas, not expand on them.

Step 4: Stop and Decide

Brainstorming can not be done forever, it is just a simple process to get the ideas out, and it should stop at some point.

After you are done brainstorming, it’s time to decide which ideas have merit and move forward with a design solution.

What are different brainstorming techniques?

While you can utilise numerous brainstorming techniques in various situations, I will be discussing the ones that will help you do brainstorming web designs effectively.

Roadmap Storming

The roadmap storming session is a perfect way to create and analyse the customer journey map for a website. It will help you connect the dots from point A to B, and it’ll be much easier than trying to figure out each step as it arises in development!

Mind Map Storming

A mind map is an excellent way to visualise your thoughts and develop a plan of action. It’s especially useful when you’re trying to resolve a creative issue, such as creating a new online course or membership site.

You start with the problem that you want to be solved in the center on paper- usually, it’ll be something like “creating _______.” You draw circles around this central idea and then use dashes (also called lines) to write down other ideas related to solving this problem; those can be sub-ideas for solving our main goal, or they could just reflect different subdivisions within what type of solution would work best.

Group Ideation Storming

We all need a little help sometimes when we’re designing or creating something new. A great way to shake things up is by planting seeds and watching them grow with different people, ideas, inputs – you know what I mean?

Group ideation storming is a great way to get the blood flowing and see what other people think. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Find your nearest willing friends or family members.
  • Explain the goal that needs achieving with them.
  • Ask for their help in brainstorming ideas.

You’ll be surprised at just who has an idea worth pursuing!

SWOT Analysis Storming

This brainstorming technique aims to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the current problem you are facing. You can often find ways forward from that information by minimising vulnerabilities or maximising your strength points (strengths).

I usually do a SWOT analysis on my client’s competitors website. This helps me gain a better understanding of what they are doing and what they are missing. From that, I can solidify my design decisions and create something unique.

Rapid Ideation Storming

Rapid ideation storming is the process of quickly capturing ideas, not editing them. The goal is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think as they do.

What would get their attention? What format might be most effective for what you’re trying to teach or sell? Each time you come up with a new question, take a different direction based on what your knowledge about this particular group tells us.

Tips for effective web design brainstorming

  1. Stick to just one brainstorming technique
  2. Get in the right headspace
  3. Don’t drop any idea even if it doesn’t make sense
  4. Don’t start expanding on ideas; produce more ideas, select one and then expand on it
  5. Have a big room with little to no distractions
  6. Have a board where you can write the goal in big, bold letters so that you are always aware of it and your ideas don’t stray too much
  7. Take breaks and clear your head after a good brainstorm session
  8. If you are doing a brainstorming session solo, try to get more ideas by involving your stakeholder, family members or friends
  9. Once you are done brainstorming, you should make a storyboard for your website
  10. Lastly, Do not stress if you are out of ideas. Give it some time or eat something and come back.

Final Thoughts

Web design brainstorming is a process that can help you come up with fresh ideas for your website and see what works best.

The type of websites designed in these sessions typically falls into three categories; informational, transactional, or promotional.

When designing an informational site, it’s important to provide visitors with all relevant information they could need about the product or service being marketed on the landing page.

Transactional sites require visitors to take action by providing them with items like shopping carts and checkout pages, and contact forms so that users can quickly get in touch if needed.

Promotional sites often have less content but instead focus on graphics and images, which convey messages about products (think Nike).

Though brainstorming sessions may seem like just another one-time meeting in which little progress will be made, web design brainstorming sessions can lead to innovative solutions and new ways of thinking about old problems when done correctly.

Now go out there and get those creative juices flowing! And let me know which kind of brainstorming technique do you use? Comment below.

Resources for Further Reading/Learning Brainstorming

–> Learn more about brainstorming here

–> Learn how to do better brainstorming by Harvard Business Review

–> Checkout Miro for doing brainstorming

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