How Do You Become a Web Designer? Do You Have What It Takes?

Web design can be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. It’s a trade that combines technical skills with creative ability. If you feel comfortable with computer technology and you enjoy creating documents, web design can be a great way to combine the two interests.

That being said, it’s always overwhelming to consider learning a new skill. Before learning how to become a web designer, you should ask yourself, “Should I become a web designer?”

I’ve been learning web design since I was ten years old, in 1994. I now do a lot of web design for myself and for some small business clients. There have been plenty of pleasures, but also plenty of frustrations. If you’re considering becoming a web designer, there are some things you should keep in mind.

If you have a lot of time to devote to learning HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Photoshop, it’s possible to learn the basics in a couple of months. Be ready to spend some money on manuals, books, and applications.

No matter how you decide to learn web design and how you decide to enter the field, some people have better potential to become web designers than others.
When you’re programming, even if you’re using a simple language like HTML and using a helpful application like Dreamweaver, you’re going to encounter some frustrations. Sometimes, when I create an HTML document, I spend a lot more time making corrections and problem solving than doing fun stuff. Are you prepared to spend a lot of time testing and making little changes? No matter how you approach web design, tedium can’t be completely avoided. If you’re easily frustrated and discouraged, web design might not be for you.

Unless web design is going to be just a hobby for you, you will have clients you have to work with. Sometimes clients have a lot of specific expectations. Some clients have experience with web design themselves, but others may demand things without knowing the technical limitations involved. Before you start any project for clients, it’s best to have a thorough conversation with them about what they want and what they need. That can save you a lot of time. How would you like to spend weeks developing a website, only to discover that your client wants completely different fonts, colors, graphics, site organization and content? If you’re going to get into designing web pages for other people, you’re going to have to be ready to make a lot of compromises and take a lot of criticism. Are you ready for that?

Finally, ask yourself if you have the time and energy to promote yourself. If you want to be hired by a web design firm, in addition to learning skills and possibly obtaining certifications, you’ve also got to be ready to pound the pavement with your resume and portfolio. It might take you over a year to find a job. Be ready to attend a lot of job interviews, and possibly get a lot of rejections.

If you’re going to become a freelancer, like I am, you’ve really got to devote a lot of energy to self-promotion. Set up a website, preferably with your own domain. Be ready to spend some money on advertising. Spend a lot of time promoting your services with social media – Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, and so on. Scan classified ads, particularly online classifieds. Print business cards and distribute them wherever you can. Use your connections and word-of-mouth to your advantage. Tell everyone you know that you’re a web designer, and maybe someone knows someone who could be your first client. Sometimes I spend more time promoting myself than I do actually doing the work itself.

If you’re ready to spend a little bit of money, do a lot of tedious work, take some criticism, and do a lot of self-promotion, then web design may be the field for you.

First, you’ve got to start the learning process. If you enjoy classroom instruction and having teachers, sign up for some web design and graphic design courses through your local community college. If you’d rather start learning on your own, buy some good books, look at the source codes of the web pages you visit, and go through some online tutorials. Even if you’re going to start learning web design in a school setting, be prepared to do a lot of learning in your free time, as well.

It’s important to learn HTML, especially HTML5. Learn Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), up to CSS3. JavaScript, possibly some server side scripting languages, and Flash are very useful, too. Don’t forget to learn how to use Photoshop. If you don’t have the money to buy Photoshop right away, start by downloading some free graphic design programs like Paint.Net and GIMP. You can learn some of the basics of graphic design that way, and possibly be better prepared when you finally buy the most recent version of Photoshop.

These days, people access the web in more ways than were ever possible before. When you’re web designing, you not only want to make your web pages work in multiple browsers, but also on multiple devices. Even basic cell phones can access the web today, not just smart phones such as BlackBerrys and iPhones. Even some video game playing devices like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DSi have web browsers. Web surfers could be using tiny screens or enormous screens. They could be using a variety of different browsers and versions of browsers. Users may have completely different plug-ins and fonts; Adobe Flash is a browser plug-in, for instance. When you’re learning web design, try surfing the web in as many ways as you can.

There are many helpful resources for learning web design online, and there are many helpful online tools for web designers, many of which I use.

The W3C is an excellent place to start. They’re the non-profit organization founded by Tim Berners-Lee, the man who started the World Wide Web. The W3C sets standards for HTML, XML and CSS. In addition to information about coding languages and standards, they have handy tools to validate your code.

HTML Goodies has a lot of excellent tutorials and articles.

I’ve learned a lot so far, but I’m always learning more, and I’ll always be a student of web design and media technology. As technology advances, things change. There’ll always be new programming languages and applications. Learning is a constant process.

Web design has been an engaging experience for me, and if you decide to get into it yourself, I hope you take it seriously and have a lot of fun.

My name is Kim Crawley, and I’m a web and graphic designer. In addition to my interest in using technology creatively, I’m also very interested in popular culture, social issues, music, and politics.

I’m an avid consumer of media, both in traditional and digital forms. I do my best to learn as much as I can, each and every day.

Wellness Coordinators: Are You Addressing the Positive Side of Health? (Start Today)

The focus of health and wellness professionals today is on disease and problems – in other words, what’s wrong (negative health). Wouldn’t you rather be focusing instead on positive health, or in other words, what’s right?Health TodayHealth today has a disease focus – a focus on risk reduction, avoidance, prevention and treatment of disease, infirmity and disability. This focus stems, no doubt, from medicine and its focus on pathogenesis, which is the study of the origin of disease. In a pathogenic model – health is measured by the incidence of disease or health related problems. Success in the pathogenic model is measured by the avoidance or elimination of problems, diseases and premature death.Health is often depicted as being a continuum, with one end being premature death and the other end being wellness. The mid-point of the continuum is often described as being a neutral point where no discernible illness or wellness can be detected. If success in the pathogenic model is the avoidance or elimination of problems or disease, then success in this case this does not create a state of wellness, but instead a point there is no discernible illness or wellness. The betterment of health or the movement towards wellness would then require that deliberate, specific concrete actions to be taken.The necessity of taking deliberate, concrete action to achieve optimal health, positive health or high level wellness would be consistent with what researchers have found in other areas. Researchers have shown that eliminating negatives alone does not, in and of itself, create positive conditions. Some examples that demonstrate what I am saying would include:• Herzberg who showed that eliminating dissatisfaction does not create satisfaction• Compton who showed that eliminating depression does not create joy• Seligman who showed that mental health was not the mere absence of mental illness• Becker and colleagues who showed that ending disease does not create positive healthInstead of aiming for a return to neutral or the status quo, a focus on positive health moves our focus towards outcomes that exceed our expectations, in other words, our idealized outcomes.Positive HealthPositive health has its roots in the salutogenesis model. Salutogenesis provides a focus and methodology to discover and develop the causes or origins of positive health. Salutogenesis complements pathogenesis by working to optimize health and well-being through continuous and never-ending improvement. Salutogenesis is about how to add positive actions, opportunities, conditions and outcomes to move us beyond the neutral point to higher, positive levels.Positive health is a deliberate consciouly created dynamic state. Positive health has also beed described as well-being, thriving or flourishing.To achieve and continually improve positive health, a supportive, nurturing and encouraging environment must be consciously and thoughtfully developed and continuously improved. This supportive and nurturing environment is a necessary ingredient in the behavior change process.Positive states are created through deliberate, conscious effort and action. To create positive states, specific efforts must be taken that go just beyond the elimination of health risks and problems. These specific efforts need to be supported through the use of following 9 Es and 1 C:
Engagement
Education
Empowerment
Effectiveness
Enablement
Evaluation
Emotions
Energy
Expectations
Comprehensive
Use these 9 Es and 1 C in your worksite wellness program to help your employees achieve positive health.If you are interested in reading more, consider these references:Antonovsky, A. (1979) Health, stress and coping. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Becker, C. M., Dolbier, C.L., Durham, T., Glascoff, M. A., & Adams, T.B. Development and preliminary evaluation of the validity and reliability of a positive health scale. (2008). American Journal of Health Education, 39(1), 34-41.Becker, C. M., Moore, J., Whetstone, L., Glascoff, M., Chaney, E., Felts, M., & Anderson, L., (2009). Validity Evidence for the Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS). American Journal of Health Behavior, 33(4), 455-465.Becker, C., Glascoff, M., & Felts, W. (2010) Salutogenesis 30 years later: Where do we go from here? International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 13, 25-32.Compton, W. C. (2005). Introduction to positive psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Dunn H. L. (1961). High-level wellness: A collection of twenty-nine short talks on different aspects of the theme “High-level wellness for man and society.” Arlington, VA: R.W. Beatty Co.Herzberg F. (2003). One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review, 81(1), 86-96. (Original work published 1968).Seligman, M. E. P. (2008). Positive health. Applied Psychology, 57(s1), 3-18.

Health Insurance Companies

Health insurance is a promise of financial compensation against any unforeseen medical expenses. A health insurance company is an organization that provides health insurance policies that individuals can purchase to protect them and their families against any loss. This policy implies that in case of any health expense, the company will compensate any financial loss. To have this cover, a person is required to pay a fixed amount periodically to the company, which is known as premium. Health insurance companies are governed by regulatory bodies that make sure that these companies do not get involved into unethical practices.Health insurance companies offer many types of health insurance plans namely individual health insurance plans, group health insurance plans, indemnity health insurance plans and managed care health insurance plans. Individual health insurance plans can be purchased by individuals to cover them in case of any major medical expense. Group health insurance plans are usually purchased by the employers for their employees to provide coverage for their as well as their families’ medical expenses. Individual health insurance is more expensive than group health insurance. Group health insurance premiums are paid by the employers. However, in certain cases, employees too contribute towards it.However, each health insurance company will have its own unique policy of providing cover as well as services to the insured party. Thus, it is important to understand what is covered under a particular policy and what is excluded. Health insurance companies operate through their web portals. Local agents can help customers understand the details of the contract offered and can also provide a quote. Most companies have a national toll free number where a customer can call to obtain all these services.Therefore, before buying any health insurance policy, customer must compare quotes from different insurance companies and the perils covered and only then get the policy written. It is possible to get a policy written over the phone or through the local agent.