Recently, I read this article about the Future of Web Design. It made me laugh (read final comment below). The most common question I always get, in one form or another is "How do you design something?". Since I usually design dynamic, interactive websites, my answer is to describe the web product design process.
Design IS a Process
Web product design is a process of refinement involving traditional design skills, merged with web development techniques. Web design is the balance of information and technology tailored to the right audience. And of course all websites should be adaptable, all web design teams should be very comfortable with the idea of evolutionary change, and build it into their business. You need to design it - try it - evaluate it - change it - and test it again and again. Always.
When Problems Happen
In my experience problems happen not in design but in the management of the design & development process. I can't tell you how many times I've worked on teams that have completely cut out producers/project managers because of somebody's false impression a that they have more control over their project. We all know that these people are just being tightwads.
I Cannot say it better than Alan Cooper
So I'll just link to his process. Alan Cooper is a design visionary who has been practicing for over 30 years. He's published numerous books including About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.
So... How do I design something?
I follow the process and communicate it with clients or other people involved in the project.