When creating a web site I consider its ultimate aim. Is it a blog, information site, e-commerce, etc. This helps me to outline the needed structure. I also keep in mind the “feel” the web site should evoke in the viewer.
I keep in mind the latest trends in how people use and scan a site and then place key elements on the page(s) accordingly.
I strive to create a beautiful, functional site, that has only those elements that are most necessary to achieve the goal, be that reading a blog, clicking on a link, or purchasing an item. I find many web sites whose navigation is cumbersome, organization is confusing and sometimes even lacking, and who hide key elements making navigating the site like a treasure hunt. I try to separate the necessary from the gimmick, and even trends that do not make the site an easy, enjoyable experience for the user.