[Photo credit: Mind Map covering the issues of Owning a Cat by MyThoughtsMindMaps, on Flickr]
Think about what happened the last time you really considered what should be on your website. Ideas and thoughts probably flowed in on your stream of conscious in no particular order, but rapidly:
- “We need to update the contact information.”
- “Oh, and Chris at the front desk needs to be added to the staff page.”
- “Didn’t someone say the other day they wanted a place to put articles about us?”
That’s a good thing. When you’re starting to plan a Web site, you want to consider every little thought or suggestion that’s come at you since the last time you updated your site. Your chief job should be to get everything down so you can process the information and make reasonable decisions when it comes to organizing the information on the site.
Here at Talance HQ, the best tool we’ve found to capture these early ideas is a mind map. “A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing,” says Wikipedia.
We’re very un-technical about it too. We take a big sheet of paper, or several scraps of paper, and write down everything we think of, drawing lines to connect ideas, or grouping the scraps of paper together.
The process is pure catharsis for website planning, and remarkably effective at helping you organize what seems like idea-chaos. Plus, since it requires no technical prowess, it’s a good activity for even the most technically challenged in your organization.