When it comes to web design, there is no doubt as a site owner or a designer you will run into flash. Flash websites are the “in” thing and if the bandwidth is there quite often the most amazing possible way to present your sites and clients. Adobe may have been the seed but flash has grown into its own over the years with no signs of slowing anytime soon.
There are literally hundreds of flash apps, flash software’s, free website builders, and flash tools to test try win and fail at. We have rounded up 50 incredibly useful flash web design resource from the simple to the extreme. Both free and paid tool with every entry point between from freeware flash to shareware, trialware and the ever famous demo brought to so many of our desktops over the years. Without further ado… FLASH here we come.
A4Desk Flash site builder
A4Desk (ver.6.35) is a professional, all-in-one flash design software suite to help users create websites, flash intros, and develop a flash presentation on Windows® 98/NT/XP/Vista instantly.
A4 Flash Menu Builder is an all-in-one, easy-to-use, templates-based Flash Menu building software. It helps you to create professional looking Flash menus in minutes. No Flash programming, scripting, or design skills required.
ActiveSWF generates Flash content dynamically and can be easily programmed to build Flash movies from XML. Being compatible with most of Windows oriented technologies including COM and .NET ActiveSWF SDK opens the world of Flash for millions of VisualBasic, C# and Visual C++ developers.
Adobe Flash CS4 Professional
Adobe® Flash® CS4 Professional software is the industry-leading authoring environment for creating engaging interactive experiences. Deliver to audiences across platforms and devices.
Micro Menu is a menu made in flash but it does not require flash for customization; you can use almost any HTML editor to insert the menu in a web page and customize it. It is a simple flash file (swf file), the menu can be customized by editing a configuration file (the XML file) that will be placed in the same directory with the menu, so you can customize the menu using any text editor.
Amara Intro and Banner Builder™ is the ultimate text effect tool to help web designers create animated Flash intros and Flash banners in the popular SWF file format, which can be used in any website and viewed in the Adobe® Flash® Player. No knowledge of Flash is needed to create animations with Amara Software.
With Amara Menu and Button Maker™ you can create professional Adobe® Flash® Player compatible Flash buttons and Flash menus that can be inserted into any website in a snap.
Amara Flash News Ticker Builder
Amara News Ticker™ creates horizontal and vertical Flash news tickers in the popular SWF file format, which can be used in any website and viewed in any browser. No knowledge of Flash is needed to create animations with Amara Software.
Create Flash intros, Flash banners, and text effects with Flash templates from Anim-FX for your web site – fast and easy. Anim-FX is a very compact Flash tool based on a wide range of Flash templates. The unique thing about Anim-FX Flash intro and banner builder is that the positioning of the text and the number of text lines is flexible.
SWF Text is an authoring tool of Flash text animation. It embraces 160+ text effects and 40+ background effects, and users may also customize all the properties of a Flash, including font, text color, and layout, etc. With SWF Text, a user without any experience of Flash development can easily create a Flash banner or an introductory page within a few minutes. And all you need do is to input text, select font and animation effects. While a veteran Flash designer may use SWF Text for text animation in a project, which sure greatly saves your time and effort.
Photo Flash Maker
With Photo Flash Maker, you can create gorgeous photo flash slideshows in SWF format for watching on computer, burn the auto-run flash photo album to gift CD/DVD, build a web gallery with amazing flash slideshows with dynamic SWF + HTML + XML files, or upload the slideshows to our free web album Go2Album, and then embed the slideshows to MySpace, Blogger, Friendster and many other social websites.
Ultra Flash Video FLV Converter
Ultra Flash Video FLV Converter is professional Flash Video Encoder and SWF Converter software which helps you convert FLV and SWF video files. The FLV Converter can convert so many video formats including DivX, XviD, AVI, WMV, MPG, MPEG, MP4, M4V, FLV, 3GP, ASF, RM, RMVB, MOV, MOD, ASX, MKV, OGM, SVCD, VCD, VOB to FLV and SWF format. The Flash Video Converter is an extremely easy to use flv streaming converter which can convert AVI to FLV, MPEG to FLV, WMV to FLV, MOV to FLV, RM to FLV, MP3 to FLV, etc. It also a powerful SWF converter including AVI to SWF, MPEG to SWF, WMV to SWF, MOV to SWF, RM to SWF, MP3 to SWF, etc. With very simple settings, the software convert FLV file super easily and fast.
Auto FX Software
Photo/Graphic Edges 7.0 is a suite of professional software for adding edges, frames and borders to enhance your photos.
The new Platinum Edition now includes an amazing collection of film frames, darkroom effects, grunge edges, natural media borders, and dozens of other new styles with over a thousand pieces of new creative content.
Cool Flash Maker v14.00
Cool Flash Maker specializes in creating professional quality, customizable flash websites, banners, intros, navigations media. In addition to flash website designs, the software provides a wide variety of customizable templates/samples to meet different clients needs. Cool Flash Maker is the great flash web design tool to help web master design animated flash media. Cool Flash Maker is very user-friendly, wide range HTML/Flash Templates ready for use, and you don’t need any Flash or programming skills to use it.
Banner Maker Pro for Flash creates flash banner ads, flash intros, logos, image ads, web headers, and other web graphics quickly and easily. By using a wizard-like interface, Banner Maker Pro for Flash allows you to easily create professional looking banners and flash intros using the flash format in just minutes. Simply follow the tabs at the top of the program to go step-by-step in the image making process. When you have completed the image, just save and add it to your website. Create an animated flash banner in under 5 minutes! No graphics expertise needed.
With Firestarter, you can add text, images, sounds, links, and shapes, and control their motion, opacity, layer order, and more. Import images from any format, and convert WAV files to MP3 format, then export them as Macromedia Flash (SWF) files. Use built-in FTP support to upload your movies. Use the HTML code generator to copy and paste the code right into your Web pages. Firestarter also includes preview capabilities for movies and special effects, as well as the ability to loop audio clips, resize images, apply fade effects to text, and more.
Website Font offers awesome fonts from our favorite font foundries, as well as the sIFR Font Maker tool, which lets you convert fonts from your computer to SWF. You can then customize these fonts with a wide array of effects, including bevel, glow, and drop shadow. Step-by-step instructions make previewing and applying the fonts to your Webpage a breeze. It’s never been easier to spice up the fonts on your site!
123 Flash Menu is a quick and easy way to build a wide range of Flash menus. It comes with 121 built-in templates, like navigation bars, drop-down menus, scrolling menus, etc. On top of this, it gives you complete control over the appearance of your menus, including options for specifying font, colors, dimensions, etc., to match the design of your website. You can also embed any non-standard font into the flash menu to ensure that your users will see the menu exactly as you designed it. With the help of their publishing wizard, all of these menus can be inserted into any web page in a snap.
Flash Admin is a powerful, easy-to-use Flash management tool available for windows. You can easily manage, browse, convert and display all kinds of Flash files on your computer.
Easy Web Editor
EasyWebEditor is the most productive professional Web Site creation and publishing software ever created, both feature rich and designed to save you time and effort. With Easy Web Editor, you won’t get bogged down with programming, HTML code, and hundreds of files and links… Instead, you’re free to care about the design and content of your Website! It is simple to be online and to easily manage your own website
Flash Decompiler Trillix is a feature rich and powerful SWF to FLA converter, which will help you decompile Flash movies, convert SWF elements into multiple formats and edit SWF movies (dynamic texts, hyperlinks and more) on the go without Flash Studio installed. Since version 4.X you can also convert Flex files back into Flex projects in case your SWF files were built in Flex! Moreover, you will be able to extract all elements from SWF files and save them to your hard drive in various formats.
Flash Components by Extend Studio
Flash components (also known as plug-ins) that ease the work of web designers and web developers. Our tools extend the functionality of Flash (8, CS3, CS4) and Dreamweaver (8, CS3, CS4) bringing new features, optimizing the development and increasing the productivity for both beginners and advanced users.
SWC Encrypt™ provides real ActionScript protection and resources protection without a loss of performance in the SWC component. SWC Encrypt™ generates encrypted Flash .swc component which can be used in the Flash movie. The output movie can defeat the most popular decompiler tools on the market.
Flash2X Flash Hunter
Flash2X Flash Hunter is a program to save flash movies from web and download Youtube videos. You can enjoy your favoriteite flash movies and Youtube videos on your computer anywhere anytime
iceProjector creates Rich Intenet Desktop Applications. It simply makes the rectangle windows disappeared so that Flash movies animate in transparent background (windowless) style. The result movies, featured with anti-alias edge support for Win2000/XP and the unique Clean Edge technology from Flashants, guarantee the best animation quality and playback performance. You can create fantastic programs such as screen-mates, desktop AD tools, viral marketing programs, mouse trail effects and any kinds of internet applications with this magic program.
InAlbum Flash Designer
InAlbum is a unique software to help you turn your digital photos and videos into stunning photo albums. It is fun, quick, and easy to use !
Alligator Flash Design Software
Create Flash websites, presentations, slide shows, menus, banners, buttons and online applications Import photos, screenshots, Flash cliparts, animated GIFs and video files Add shapes, lines, curves, text, 3d effects and gradients Insert links to other pages, create buttons and clickable hotspots Play background music, voice-overs and click sounds Apply animation effects (like zoom, flip, rotate, slide-in, fade) to each object Export Flash files (SWF) and add them to your website Use ActionScript 2.0 to handle your own events.
Flash Fluid Effect
Flash Fluid Effect is a tool to easily and quickly create cool flash animated bitmap effect such as melt, vaporize, warp, blur, etc. There is no need to know any scripting language. Simply select an effect from a library and customize it by adjusting effect parameters.
Flash LipSync allows you to create lipsync scripts for flash. Just sync your audio with a mouth animation and then export the action-script to be used in any flash program that supports Macromedia’s standard action-script.
Flash Video Studio
Simply choose from 100+ ready to use templates or custom templates which let you combine, mix & match background animations, buttons, photo frames, fonts, transition effects, etc. Perfect for special events such as birthdays, weddings, holidays, celebrations, etc.
Fun SoundPlayer Maker 2.3
Fun SoundPlayer Maker 2.3 is a Flash tool which allows you to create Flash music players and buttons for your web site.
No Flash experience is needed to create Flash audio player and embed it into your web page.
Flash MP3 player or Flash radio – it’s the matter of your choice. Flash sound players with MPEG audio streaming support allow you to embed both MP3 audio and online radio in your web site.
Astro creates real-time awesome Flash text effects, which you then can use in your Adobe Flash work, or use directly on your web site.
Your text effect can be further spiced up by adding Flash background and foreground effects. There’s a choice from more than 450 (!!) text effects and over 80 other Flash effects.
FlaX creates real-time text effects for Adobe/Macromedia Flash! With its intuitive approach, it has raised the standard for Flash text effects. The new FlaX version 5 has almost doubled the amount of effects: FlaX comes now equipped with 256 predefined effects, subdivided into 85 very adjustable effect groups which can be tweaked using sliders and buttons, creating tens of thousands of unique effects.
AiO Flash Mixer Professional Flash Creator
AiO Flash Mixer provides a new way to create your SWF easily. You can merge several SWF, text and pictures into a new SWF by dragging and dropping.
It is very simple to use, just pick existed Flash and drop them into your own Flash. You can move, resize, rotate and displace the Flash you added. The final Flash is exactly the same as it displayed in the working area. You can set the picture or music as the background. For advance user, timeline can help you to set the display time of the Flash you added.
Infine Capture Flash
Infine Capture Flash is a software allows you to capture flash files from all open webpages and temporary Internet files, and save them to disk. You can preview each Flash file (.swf) with the built-in viewer. With the program, you can get any Flash file you are visiting or have visited. It gets all Flash file from local cache files, so you needn’t waste any bit bandwidth unnecessary.
FlaPops Version 2
FlaPops is a step-by-step program for designing short Flash movies or presentations. It includes 14 designs which can be customized. The included designs can be used by themselves or as a part of a web page, like an animated section displaying your message. Create your Flash animation or Flash splash intro with FlaPops and create it quickly. Keeping the process to a simple 3 steps, you can customize, then select your design, and create your Flash splash intro. You can also use the Flash splash intros as a movie showing three short testimonials on the side of a web page, or as square Flash advertisements. Use your imagination with what you can create with short animation items.
Flash Website Builder Software
With the Flash Website Builder you can be up and running with your own fully complete and professional looking Flash website in less than an hour! Plus, with the Flash Website Builder, you can easily update and change your website content or design in the future with the click of a button. FlashWebKit v2.0 even includes special automatic text site creation for maximizing Google search engine indexing of your websites!
Flash4D Home Edition
Flash4D v5.0 features up to 50+ features to customize your intro with from simple text editing to complex customizing features like adding images, automatic url redirection after the intro plays, changing the size, customizing the music, adjusting the color of the text and more in the highest Flash4D software bundle.
Used by both professionals and novices to create rich interactive content for web sites, KoolMoves is a popular Flash authoring tool with rave industry reviews! Combining ease-of-use with a wealth of powerful animation effects, KoolMoves makes it easy and inexpensive to create professional quality animations for web sites.
Longtion SlideShow Pro
Longtion SlideShow Pro is a program that creates slide shows from your digital pictures. A slide show may be created from digital pictures stored in common formats created by digital cameras, scanners, and photo developing services. Longtion SlideShow Pro creates slide shows in the Flash movie format developed by Macromedia. Flash movies can be played on any computer that has the Macromedia Flash Player installed – including any Windows or MacIntosh computer as well as many Unix computers and PDA’s. You can download the free Flash player on the Macromedia Download Site.
If you have some digital pictures and have the Flash Player Installed, you are ready to create a slide show.
Openworld FlashPresenter lets you create rich media presentations, based on Macromedia Flash animation technology, with live streaming video that plays in sync with scrolling transcripts, slides, and hyperlinks to related resources. Your presentations can be easily navigated with popup Contents, whose topics are shown in tree menu format, and with a Glossary window that lets users search and find topics of interest. Openworld FlashPresenter natively uses Flash Video (FLV) format for video/audio tracks. The video encoder is included, which lets you easily convert any popular video format such as AVI, MPEG, etc. into the near-universal Flash Video format.
QuickBanner is the leading banner maker and banner design tool, where you can create your own professional-looking animated banner and flash banner in three simple steps.
Sothink Flash Video Encoder
Sothink Video Encoder for Adobe Flash is a fast and powerful Flash encoder. This Flash video encoder encodes video to FLV and Flash SWF of high quality. It gives full control over the FLV encoding process.
editor to resize any of the buttons and you’ve got a great-looking banner background. Add text to any button and you’ve got navigational buttons for the web and just about any other
project you can imagine.
Flash Particle Studio
Create Flash particle effects easily without any scripting knowledge. Turn your bitmap logo into a fire, smoke, aurora, fairy dust, electric animation in a few clicks. Select from tons of particle effects such as fire, electric, water drip, corona, aurora, light, plasma, fairy dust, matrix, smoke, etc. Create a particle effect from any shape easily by using any shape within a bitmap file. Customize your particle effect by adjusting parameters such as density, speed, life-span, size, color, transparency, etc. Potentially you can create thousands of different varieties of particle effects. Create a looping particle effect animation which will play seamlessly in a loop. Publish as an AVI video (with/without transparency). Publish as an SWF/FLV file. Publish as a series of images (PNG/JPEG/BMP) with/without transparency.
Trendy Site Builder
Trendy Site Builder is an online site creation tool for independent professionals like doctors, attorneys, musicians, models etc and small businesses like restaurants, salons etc. Trendy Site Builder brings together different aspects which are needed to put a professional site together. The Trendy Website Builder enables users to generate and maintain a full multimedia designer Flash web site with utmost ease. The users get to choose the website design of their choice from 300+ flash designs. The user can edit the content like text, images etc on the flash website of his/her choice and select music of his/her choice. No programming skills or knowledge is required to build your flash website using the TrendyFlash.com’s website builder.
As you can tell there are more options in flash web design than you can shake a stick at as they say. We will be working over all the tools fully soon to give detailed reviews of each and break it down further. From the free to the high end there are numerous options for your flash website ideas. Enjoy the options and let us know if we missed any of your favorite flash design tools. As a design and software junky, I would love to know if I skipped any and want to bring it all back for you our readers. Now stop reading and go make something…. Then tell us about it so you can be featured in the next post too.
3 Tips to Make Your Blog Better Today
Blogging is one of the most popular forms of online media. The so-called Blogoshpere is comprised of millions of would-be writers clammering about whatever suits them. The majority of blogs are best described as examples of how not to blog. Yes, you read that correctly. Most blogs aren’t worth reading.
Successful blogs are usually characterized (at least when compared to unsuccessful blogs) by the time spent per post. That’s an oversimplification but will work here. Lots of famous entrepreneur’s would have us believe that successful blogging is all about posting frequency. Take Gary Vee for example. He has no shame about posting a <500 word post about how effective <500 word posts can be, if they’re posted often. To be fair, we are talking about and linking to that post.
What fails to reach discussion by these types of personalities is that everything they say is predicated on their fame. The value of the advice in those short blog posts doesn’t come from raw face value. They’re valuable because it’s assumed that someone who “made it” would know the secrets to their own success. Sometimes that comes after the fact.
Start a Successful Blog
There are some killer resources out there for learning how to start a blog. We’re not going to cover all the points one should consider when starting a blog. We are going to outline a general roadmap to success by which you’ll at least know how to get started. Managing a successful blog invovles a lot of time, planning, and insight into one’s audience. The toughest part is getting that first round of website traffic. That’s what this article is all about.
Choose a Platform
Are you starting your own website or do you just want to engage online? If you’re launching a business or brand it’s better to register your own domain and host your own blog. If you’re blogging to build your personal credibility and relevancy (as an author) you may want to choose a third party platform such as WordPress.com or Medium. Each has its advantages.
Third Party Hosts
Here’s a short list of the pros and cons of hosting your blog with a third party such as WordPress.com, Blogger.com, or Medium.com. NOTE: Most all of these providers allow for you to use your own domain name for a monthly fee.
- Someone else handles the technical aspects of running your website.
- Often free to use.
- Innate exposure to community members.
- Little to no technical knowledge required to start or maintain.
- Giving another site your traffic.
- Little control over customization.
- Hard to integrate call-outs, calls-to-action, or advertising.
- Waists SEO equity (usually)
If you’re serious about making a living from your blog or website than this is the route you should take. There’s a steeper learning curve, some coding will be required (at some point) and management can get tricky. The benefit is freedom to do whatever the hell you want.
- Complete freedom over content.
- Can’t get banned from your own website.
- Retain all SEO equity.
- Can easily integrate ads, affiliate offers, and profitable code without issue.
- Technical expertise needed
- Have to manage own backups, updates, and server configurations.
- Costs more, in most cases.
- Harder to gain initial traction
Never underestimate the power of branding. The same message coming from a website portrayed as an Entrepreneurial authority resonates differently than one portrayed as a Religious authority. Branding is, among other things, a way to ensure all your efforts build on top of one another. Each piece of content you produce as a brand works to establish your credibility and perception to consumers (of your content.)
Branding goes far beyond website design and finding the best logo design companies. Branding is about letting people know what to expect. Brands aren’t unlike celebrities in that sense. Just like one might expect Adam Sandler to tell a joke about current events one might also expect WordPress to advocate for an open web. Don’t get me wrong, professional logos and website design go a long way. After all, professional design speaks to professional opinion.
Effective branding can also be creating different tones and styles of communication for the same message. For example, both teenagers, young adults, and adults may all enjoy the latest smart phone from Samsung. Creating separate marketing materials for each of those demographics is likely to provide more resounding results. Here’s some tips for understanding the do’s and don’ts of branding:
DO be Specific and Prolific: Trying to cater to every interest will leave you exhausted and with little to show. Focus on specific subjects and interests of your audience and take deep dives into them.
DO Express Moral Objections & Thoughts: Chances are your blog isn’t going to be the only one covering your subject. Readers have an opinion and resonate with blogs that have one as well. This is true to such an extent that most major media sites have devolved into little more than opinionated blogs.
DO Consider New & Different Formats: Repsecting a platform’s native content style is important. Don’t post long-form content to Twitter and don’t post 0:30 sound bytes to SoundCloud. You won’t know how your audience responds to Podcasts unless you try them. Try to make an educated guess before trying everything though.
DON’T Get Political Unless You’re Prepared to Stay Political: There’s no quicker way to isolate a segment of your visitors than to take one side of a political issue. Criticizing both sides is an easy out here, if you must weigh in.
DON’T Be Afraid to Be Politically Incorrect: This is probably the most controversial piece of advice we have to offer. Modern media has trained us to be hyper-reactive to issues of political correctness. You shouldn’t consider yourself having carte blanche to offend but don’t get worried about users on 4Chan getting upset about your last press release not neutralizing every gender pronoun.
Be Predictable When it Counts
Connecting to an audience is all about developing rapport. Single-author blogs aren’t likely to post meaningful content every day (or every week for that matter) but can probably swing one each month. Delivering content to your audience in a predictable manner helps them know what to expect. This little tidbit of a reward system goes a long way.
Being un-predictable pays off as well. Finding topics that will surprise your audience can be a powerful tool. This isn’t really something one can teach but certainly correlates strongly with successful blogs. Think to yourself “why is my content better than other blogs’?” By the same token, producing too much content that takes readers off guard can work against you.
If you have a popular automotive blog it might benefit you to publish an insightful article about parallels between the aviation industry. You may start to lose readers if every post starts doing the same though. Don’t be a one-trick pony. Starting a successful blog is no easy feat. Developing the ability to balance what readers know they want to read with what they don’t yet know what they want to read is an art. The sooner you get started the sooner you’ll become an artist!
Design Trends to Expect in 2019
The internet business community is now entering a new business cycle. 2018 was a year of growth. We have seen numerous positive changes in the online business community. We are seeing radical changes left and right. Governments attempted to regulate the internet community as a whole all in the name of general welfare and the common good, but numerous businessmen and online business conglomerates launched boycotts and protests reminding governments the effect of an internet-less world.
As a result, the brilliant website designers and website owners created ways and means to make a website not solely under a jurisdiction of a single government entity. Security features of websites also became tougher to protect websites from government intrusion and criminals. Website design also remained free and virtually unregulated for the year 20182 – and the only regulatory mechanism is the market which boycotts or promotes a good website. Attempts from some sectors were made to regulate website design again all in the name of the common good – protect local employment and non-transfer of intellectual property – but all attempts were futile. Let’s take a look at the design trends to expect in 2019.
Responsive and Adaptive Website Design
Many website design firms have reminded readers that responsive and adaptive website design allows building websites that are optimized for screens of all sizes – small mobile devices, tablets, and large desktop monitors. The trend will continue because the technology cannot be stopped. Improvement in communications technology including mobile phones is not subject to regulation, and this causes a surge in the demand for responsive website design. Simply put, a responsive website design means that the design is flexible in desktop, smartphone and tablet screens. An adaptive website design is what we need to remain competitive next years as more and more people are using smartphones and tablets for their everyday needs.
According to many website designers we’ve spoken with, parallax is a technique achieved with multiple layers of a website that are scrolling at different speeds creating an illusion of a 3D effect. Parallax screening is a way for website designers to reach the all-important target audience for their customers. If you look closely, parallax screening is part of responsive website design. Through parallax screening, the customer can get to scroll and view the numerous contents from different websites using his tablet or smartphone.
Minimalism is Re-emphasized
There are always downsides for technology but the same are remedied by the market. Because of the arrival of numerous cameras, the photography industry is said to be diluted. The so-called “old guards” of photography are complaining about the surge of new amateur photographers using all sorts of picture-taking devices made in China. Well, at the end of the day, the best photographers – whether they are new or old- are the ones hired by the clients. The same is true in website design. With the emergence of hundreds of photo-editing devices and increased memory systems, the design community is sto aid be diluted and one website designer even went on to claim that designing can now be done by kids. However, the market fixed the defects and minimalism is back. In fact, only professionals and those with lengthy experience in website design can create a truly minimalist website taking into consideration all factors.
Designed Typography will take Center Stage
Typography is becoming an integral part of web design ideas and projects and the use of custom fonts will be an essential creative asset, contributing to the overall identity of a website as much as other important elements such as colors or artwork. If 2018 was the year when color scheme took center stage, 2019 will be a battle for font styles. Designers and website developers are busy looking and creating the perfect fonts to catch the attention of the target clientele.
5 Health Tips Every Web Designer Needs to Hear
Health isn’t often a leading topic among conversations between website developers. Tech and health don’t always mesh—sometimes they do—though health has a way of affecting every aspect of our lives. If you feel bad you won’t tackle problems as well and your designs will reflect your mood. Sure, every professional would like to think they’re above such influence but the truth is we’re just a bunch of animals. This article is all about sharing some valuable health tips to help keep your website design company up-and-running by helping you be the best version of your self.
Good Health is Not Easy
Feeling good is only easy for those among us that do it by default. For those whose first response is fatigue, negativity, or chronic illness there’s an uphill battle ahead. Making a conscious effort to take steps to improve one’s health is the only way by which anything meaningful will ever be accomplished. No one’s going to do it for you. We’re no doctors here at DesignOra but we all have an interest in performing our best on the job. Taking steps to ensure our health is as good as it can help us maintain our edge when it comes to landing new clients, nailing our projects, and coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems. After all, no one’s going to redefine their design approach when they feel like shit.
Exercise Every Day
Exercise continues to be the simplest and most substantiated benefit for human health. Our ancestors passed the time by running dozens of miles, hunting fierce predators, and rarely sitting down for a break. In fact, sitting at a desk (or even standing at a desk) isn’t what the human body and mind have evolved to accel at. Being in a moving environment not only helps signal our bodies to release the hormones we need to feel good but it also helps modulate our immune system. Our brains do better when given dynamic situations to navigate and draw relevance from. If a new concept is learned within the context of something easy to remember chances are you’ll learn it more completely. Crawl before you walk and walk before you run. No need to start powerlifting on day one. Walking 15-30 minutes each day is a great first step.
Get Quality Sleep
Pushing the boundary of one’s wakefulness to finish up a last-minute revision on a project already past its deadline is a common part of web design. Staying up all night (and waking up first thing in the morning) is considered a rite of passage for most but it takes its toll. Sleep deprivation is one of the strongest correlating factors with all major disease (right after exercise!) If you’re not getting enough sleep you’re doing yourself a disservice. Putting in 8 horizontal hours each night isn’t guaranteed to cover your ass though. Quality is as important as quantity when it comes to sleep and if you’re sleeping poorly it doesn’t matter how long you’re down for. I recently helped redesign a website that features lots of mattress reviews. My first impression was to be mesmerized by how many different types of mattresses there are out there. My second impression was that one can buy a quality mattress without taking out a loan these days. Not only can you visit their website to get a nice example of modern website design but also get some quality mattress recommendations!
Eat Good Food
Fad diets aren’t something that you should pay attention to. Anyone offering you a way to lose X pounds in X days is blowing smoke up your ass and deserves to be force-fed a tub of butter. Assessing your overall nutrition is something that can make a difference though. If you eat fast food, frozen food, preserved food, or just about any food ordered from chain takeouts there’s a big chance that you’re not getting the nutrition you need. Hiring a nutritionist to help you build a customized dietary plan is a great idea but not affordable for everyone out there. Instead, I like to follow a few simple rules:
- Eat organic when possible
- Cook your own food
- Balance your macros (carbs, fats, protein)
That’s not too hard, right? There’s an infinite degree of complexity one can introduce to their diet but these simple guidelines can make a world of difference. Cutting out processed foods, eating whole foods (things you buy in the grain, produce, and meat section at the grocery store) can have a tremendous impact on your cognitive and physical health.
Live a Balanced Lifestyle
There’s not much scientific language to frame this one with. Just imagine I’m putting on my Zen-Master robe as I write. Web development, software engineering, and any discipline that involves nuanced problem solving take a lot of mental effort. In our fields, there are strong incentives to devote oneself to seeing the world primarily from the mental perspective. It’s easy to forget to assess situations based on the physical sensations you feel or your emotional perception when you have to think all day. It’s a force of habit; akin to muscle memory (mind memory?!) Recognizing that one needs to have physical and emotional experiences each day to support their mental ones is easier said than done. The first tip I can offer is to consider your exercise a physical task. Don’t spend your whole time at the gym thinking about your deadline or how late your client is on paying their last bill. Focus on how the fibers of your muscles feel, how the air feels in your lungs, and how the ground feels beneath your feet. Check out, and give yourself permission to do so.
Laughter is Good Medicine
Laughter might not cure cancer but it damn sure helps lower the risk of chronic health issues. The human immune system is comprised of (among many other things) receptors for a class of compounds known as Enkephalins. Among them are the feel-good compounds we call Endorphins that get released when we laugh, exercise, have sex or do some types of drugs. These compounds are our bodies’ way of signaling to us that we’re doing something good! Chronic and regular release of these compounds has been shown to have a modulatory effect on the human immune system so much so that synthetic mimetics are used to treat a varying number of diseases. Common drugs used to treat opioid addiction (opioids are very similar to endorphins) are often used as general immune-boosting therapies for patients with conditions unresponsive to conventional care. Laughing and feeling good is one of the two best ways to help ensure your body stays in tip-top shape!
We aren’t doctors and aren’t giving medical advise (our lawyer would be happy that we’ve said that!) This article is only meant to help bring some attention to how important health is in everything we do. That includes website development! By taking effective steps towards feeling better you will, without doubt, end up being a better designer. There is no scenario in which you are healthier in which you don’t become more capable—even if it makes you realize you hate web design. I mean, let’s be honest; sometimes at 2am, I feel like I’m torturing myself on purpose. One email. Could. Stop. It. All. Clients. Hate. SHIT. Seriously though, live a healthy life and you’ll find that happiness might not be far behind!
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