The Ruthless Monk is my general approach to site conceptualization. Here is my general overview of the tenets of hitting something Monk Style.
The user’s current position is considered the center of the site. Wherever the user is, they are in the right place. Bring content to them, don’t use your navigation as advertisement. This only makes the user feel they are in the wrong place, and all other places are better.
Items that are of more relevance are closer to user. This means, stop carrying navigation and global elements around the site. If the user chooses a path, their focus is on that topic or action. Leave shit behind when it’s not needed.
The degree to which items are presented and the visual and cognitive impact they will have. Not everything can be cranked to 11. A simple visual inspection of every screen should reveal the top 2-3 actions you want a user to take. These are the items with the loudest volume, the rest need to be turned down.
Discreet modal shifts within a current space. I call these ‘Flips’ they are nothing more than div layers that contain a complete and concise task. They are called when needed, and should adapt to user position and mindset.
Arranging user opportunities through a story metaphor. If I asked you to tell me about your new camera, it’s unlikely you would organize your thoughts in the same manner as a camera maker’s site. Think about how a conversation evolves, how people will interrupt at moments of interest and change the course of the discussion. This is real time Story Shaping.
Content will always beget an action. If it doesn’t provoke action, it is likely useless. Also, ask yourself what questions a user would have based on a piece of content. That is likely to inform your choice of actions you provide, and think ACTION, don’t always think movement.
If it doesn’t add something, remove it. Be ruthless in your dislike for every object on the screen. Strong, single and simple actions will always beat complex, wishy-washy activities. At some point, everyone is a uni-tasker… realize the power in this.