Nathan Kontny

Nathan Kontny

CEO at Highrise Joined over 5 years ago via an invitation from Allan G.

  • 27 stories
  • Posted to Marketing design - How we got a 35% bump in our conversion rate , in reply to Marcel van Werkhoven , May 05, 2017

    Thanks! Yeah pumped about it. The interviews took some deep time and attention, but the changes to the copy were easy after that. The next redesign is taking a bunch more effort. But nice to see easy changes = 35% improvement.

    1 point
  • Posted to Ask DN: Best books on UX and product design, Dec 14, 2015

    Something Really New: Three Simple Steps to Creating Truly Innovative Products

    This is one that hasn't been rehashed over and over. Premise is simple: find tasks people have, create recipe lists of people doing those tasks, remove steps for folks. Really great way of organizing your thought in here on making products people are going to find super helpful. Has been a key thing in my own work.

    1 point
  • Posted to Work in Progress — video series about product design by Jason Fried and Nate Kontny., Oct 22, 2015

    Hello! Thanks for posting this Gadzhi! I'm happy to help anyone I can with any questions or whatever is on your mind! If there's any questions too that you want Jason or I to tackle on the show, please shout. Would love to fit them into our discussions.

    1 point
  • Posted to Web Agency CRM, in reply to Paul Best , Jul 07, 2015

    Thanks Paul! Highrise is getting a lot of love too since we've spun off from Basecamp. Please feel free to reach out ( How can I help? Not just on CRM stuff, but would love to be of service to anyone here in the community.

    1 point
  • Posted to Ask DN: Where do you go for web design inspiration?, Apr 13, 2015

    Where do you go for web design inspiration? Dribbble, etc?

    Anywhere but other web sites.

    The best places to find inspiration is to look outside of the domain I'm designing for.

    Some of the coolest stuff I find other companies making are so far outside of their domain. For example, Wrigley's Gum studies paint (e.g. how do companies create such white paint) in order to find ideas on making better teeth whitening gum. And paint companies are studying nature (e.g. how do lily pads stay so dry) to understand how to create stain resistant paint.

    Draft, which has done very well for me, was designed by taking a lot of inspiration from the Kindle Paperwhite. I paid a lot of attention to how Amazon provides menus, buttons, functions on top of reading, while still keeping reading the main focus and without distracting folks with lots of chrome. For colors that I used for the color palette, I spent a lot of time combing through art books and even taking photos of things at the Art Museum in Chicago, namely my favorites from Van Gogh.

    And now with Highrise I spend a lot of time looking at anything but CRM/address book software. Instead I spend a lot of time looking at paper notebooks. How do those old Daytimers work or Franklin Covey planners. How does my parents rolodex of index cards work for them so well still today?

    Of course I'm still looking at Dribbble and all the other web sites I come across to stay fresh. But the true bursts of inspiration I got creating things like web software for writing, was looking at anything but other writing programs and web software.

    0 points
  • Posted to Show DN: Create a No-Nonsense Resume, Apr 11, 2015

    I dig it! Looks great. Very scannable. One thing that came to mind if you need any more brainstorming on where this could go -- Looking at this was something I wrote awhile ago:

    I think most people creating resumes don't fail so much at the resume part as they fail at the cover letter part. They fail at communicating something that isn't obvious. They state "I'm made with real eggs" and they are a breakfast sandwich. Of course you're made with real eggs; you are an egg sandwich. Use the space to tell me something interesting and surprising about yourself.

    People also fail at testimonials. The biggest reason I hire people is when someone else says something nice about them. But most people stick a "references on request" at the bottom of resumes. That's terrible! Testimonials should be at the top of your resume or cover letter.

    I'm only mentioning that because that's where I think people need the most help, and could your solution help with that?

    Maybe your resume could have a beautiful pull quote or two at the top for testimonials. Or a place at the top to call out what should be in a cover letter (e.g. a better Objective area). A short paragraph of your story, and how you're different. The anecdote that tells me how different you are than everyone else. The paragraph about how you surprised everyone in your last job, know one thought you could pull off XYZ, but you did, and you got a promotion for it. That kind of thing. Because really, most people hiring don't want to read the resume.

    1 point
  • Posted to Ask DN: Examples of design to communicate luxury/high-end app positioning?, Apr 11, 2015

    As I was thinking about your question I was reminded of this book: Trade Off.

    The book's argument is that: - things that catch on make a trade off between Utility and Luxury, or in his language (Convenience and Fidelity). - Convenience is how easy or cheap you can make something for people. - Fidelity is luxury or level of experience. Its the difference between listening to a MP3 and going to a concert. Or watching a movie or being on set of the movie and having lunch with the actors. - If you try and do both at a high degree, you'll lose.

    I won't argue the books points, but it is a very interesting lens. My inclinations then if I were building something like you're talking about that was going to be the "premium/luxury" app and thinking about Trade Off:

    • I'd probably try to design without paying much attention to the utility of the product. I'd focus on things like telling stories of the workmanship. Who are the exact people who built the thing, their stories, what tools were used to build it.
    • I'd also see how Support could be amped up. Luxury brands usually carry with it the idea that I can always get a friendly human to help me with my product choices. Maybe there should be a phone number to call to get someone to talk to about any buying choices or support they'd need. Or meetups pre-planned to get hands on training.

    Again, I'm not saying Trade Off is right or wrong, but it is a very interesting way to look at things. I do think too many apps aren't making this choice and they fail to capture customers' attention. There are apps that do pack a lot of utility and that's what customers want, but they don't communicate that to customers because they spend too much time trying to communicate something else. And vice versa. It's been a huge help in crafting and marketing my own site: Draft It packs a lot of utility so I didn't spend much time trying to communicate something else: no logo, no deep time spent on the marketing site, no beautiful product pics. I focused on communicating utility. I picked one side of the Trade Off and it worked well.

    3 points
  • Posted to Stuck again—Signal Vs. Noise, in reply to Razvan H , Dec 11, 2014

    Razvan! Thank you very much for saying that. That's awesome to hear, and also inspires me to just keep trying to get better too. I appreciate you reading these.

    5 points
  • Posted to Ask DN: What sketchbook do you use?, Apr 29, 2014

    I like the Steno Books form Field Notes. They're just big and stay open.

    0 points
  • Posted to Show DN: Edit Room - Focused, Flexible Web Design., Jan 16, 2013

    Looks interesting. One of the things I've always got on my mind with anything where you want some people signing up: put some testimonials somewhere that stick out. Over and over again, conversions go way up with some social proof.

    37signals got some great conversion improvements sticking a human saying something nice about Basecamp on the homepage. We got some huge improvements on some Obama donation forms sticking a quote on the form. My wife got a ton more job interviews sticking nice things her boss/coworkers said about her in her cover letter.

    I'm sure you have some people somewhere saying some nice things about you and this product.

    0 points
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