That’s our owner there, in that photo. He’s looking a bit scraggly, but what do you expect after spending a week living out of a tent in Montana?
We took a few minutes to run over some questions with Nate. Checkout this interview to learn more about him and SiteFlight.
Where did you grow up?
Well, I’m still growing up, but ironically I’m doing that in the same place that I’d say I grew up in! I was born in Utah, moved to Connecticut, and finally landed in Baxter, MN, on a small lake called Whipple Lake. From there, the Brainerd Lakes Area raised me. I remember waking up almost every morning in the summers to slalom ski behind the jet ski and then, every evening, hitting the water again to practice wakeboarding skills. The fall was a combination of hunting and football season for me. I played defensive back and slot receiver for the Brainerd Warriors and tried not to miss practice even though the hunting was good. Needless to say, the Brainerd Lakes Area raised me!
How did where you grew up mold your aesthetic/perspective?
I was very much into the outdoors and extreme sports when I was growing up. Those helped me to become independent and take cautious risks. I’ve always really liked natural colors and bold images or fonts that inspire that sort of adventurous and bold life. Otherwise, my design style is simple and utilitarian. To me, like when you’re wakeboarding, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, or fishing, product design should facilitate the experience, not get in the way.
What do you think makes an excellent website?
I love websites that have good user experience and that make sense, but the best websites are those with a website owner who actively engages in their sites, creating content and using it as a tool to grow their businesses. Websites are incredibly flexible and should be considered a very dynamic marketing tool rather than a static brochure.
What are some of your favorite types of websites to design?
I personally love working on any project where a client is engaged, is in a familiar market, and wants to build a long-term relationship. Not everyone can push huge budgets into user-experience design, analytics, and prototyping, so when I get to work on sites that fall within a familiar market, process, and requirement list, I feel like I’m able to provide clients with way more value then they could ever get from a 1 off custom build. To me, the aspect of design I enjoy is making our client’s experience with us better and, in turn, helping them hit more of their goals. That’s why we focus on specific niches like author websites, asphalt websites, and even bait shops. Plus, small companies like these usually can’t afford $20,000+ websites. And sometimes, that’s the type of budget it takes to make really well-researched and tested websites. So, when we get to do repetitive projects for smaller companies, we really unlock the needs and can provide that $20,000+ value at a much, much more affordable price.
What do you think are the most important aspects of a quality website design?
The most important thing I think that a website owner can do is take an incremental improvement mindset. By that, I mean they must respond to how real customers use their site. They also need to review analytics and consider how the design could change. So to me, it’s all about a website owner who is willing to be flexible and dynamic and respond to what you see.
I think with an incremental improvement mindset, you can then really make your website capable of anything, and you can truly perfect some of the most important aspects of quality website design, like user experience and conversion optimizations.