I don't know exactly what type of "user" you are refering to, but here goes.

If the user is a corporate client then one has to have the mentality that 80% of the work will be planning. Everything from the corporate mission, down to the color scheme being used.

One can consult with the client based on a set of questions that probe the client. These questions can be easily divided into a few sections: corporate - strategy/culture/hierarchy/mission, technical infrastructure, purpose of the site, company's vision for the next 2 years, etc.

These types of questions can help one understand the company better so that a custom tailored solution can be made. Too many times does a web developer think that as long as the site is compatible and pretty it's a success. That's only the beginning!

A successful web design firm does not have a transaction frame of mind. That is, okay we just finished another project yeah! Now we can through away all the files and erase that client from our minds! NO! big mistake! This is just the beginning of a long-term relationship. The client may not have an extensive knowledge when it comes to the web and we just assisted their company to enter this new world! WE ARE THEIR ONLY RESOURCE! EXPLOIT IT! One can always follow up and find out if they need a marketing strategy to increase their hits. etc.

As far as the navigation goes...look at the company and how they function and what they're about. If they are a company that is global with various divisions then don't get too specific.
Also don't do what amazon has done...it's so cluttered that I don't know exactly what their mission critical processes are other than logistics.

Another strategy is to do a SWOT analysis on the client...find out their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. On the index page one can somehow highlight the companies strengths. One can devise some sort of solution for the client to exploit future opportunities. One should also find out competitors and see what they are doing.

hope this helps.

- sam