2. Brainstorming techniques
The following includes a list of various brainstorming techniques used by different Web developers in the creation of their projects:
The designers at Metadesign use a technique called word association to develop
the feel for their site. The process begins with the question "What do we want this
project to be?", and then designers throw out as many ideas that come to mind.
This technique translates very well to online chat sessions where team members can quickly type associated words that come to mind.
Mind mapping can be tricky online if you don't have a whiteboard to share sketches. A possible workaround is a text-based mind-mapping session. Start with a trigger word that lies at the heart of your idea or goal. Then start writing words that relate to that trigger word.
Each person should contribute their thoughts. Don't worry if at first these words don't seem to be a perfect fit. You don't need to follow any predetermined path or outline. The goal is to explore as many options as possible. For an example of a mind-mapping session, you can visit TQ Guide on the ThinkQuest Web site.
Take a virtual field trip
One of the most effective ways to get ideas is to see what other people have already done. The section of this guide called "Web Project Examples" lists a number of examples to review before beginning your own project.
Each member of the team should take some time exploring the different sites and choose several of their favorites. Once you've compiled a list of favorites, share these with your teammates. Describe what you liked about the site, what you found to be effective, and what you might change.
The jazz musician Kristen Korb, in a recent interview, described the process as "taking what's around you and looking at it from a new perspective." Many jazz musicians will hear a riff they like and begin to work with it. That riff than triggers new ideas. The key is not to just copy ideas, but to take these ideas and create music of your own.
In the following section we'll look at some techniques for organizing these new ideas as well as what to do when we put these ideas into action.
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