Three of the most important criteria for cryptographically strong Boolean functions are the balancedness, the nonlinearity and the propagation criterion. The main contribution of this paper is to reveal a number of interesting properties of balancedness and nonlinearity, and to study systematic methods for constructing Boolean functions satisfying some or all of the three criteria. We show that concatenating, splitting, modifying and multiplying (in the sense of Kronecker) sequences can yield balanced Boolean functions with a very high nonlinearity. In particular, we show that balanced Boolean functions obtained by modifying and multiplying sequences achieve a nonlinearity higher than that attainable by any previously known construction method. We also present methods for constructing balanced Boolean functions that are highly nonlinear and satisfy the strict avalanche criterion (SAC). Furthermore we present methods for constructing highly nonlinear balanced Boolean functions satisfying the propagation criterion with respect to all but one or three vectors. A technique is developed to transform the vectors where the propagation criterion is not satisfied in such a way that the functions constructed satisfy the propagation criterion of high degree while preserving the balancedness and nonlinearity of the functions. The algebraic degrees of functions constructed are also discussed, together with examples illustrating the various constructions.