dathemes1

Update (6 July 09): Thanks to Pavel Ciorci for letting me know that this theme has been cloned from a Joomla theme. Large parts of it have been copied, against their Terms of Use. I would not have recommended the theme if I had known this before. Thanks Pavel!

Update 2 (11 July 09): The theme author has been making changes to his designs to make them more unique. Whether or not it is enough is up to the original owner’s to decide, not me, but the review below is becoming irrelevant either way now as the design changes.

Real Estate is a premium theme from DaThemes. It’s a plain design allowing the images to take focus and it packs in a fair amount of functionality.

In this post we are going to look at the theme and see what we can learn from it and what we could change. To start with, load up the demo in a new tab then carry on!

NB – This is a sponsored post, however there are no affiliate links used so it’s of no benefit to me to try to sell you on the theme. Only honest thoughts here!

What Has Been Done Well?

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The top navigation bar is the highlight of the site. On first glance, the design is very sleek. The fun starts when you roll over it though. Each link has its own vibrant color and a lovely smooth fade-in effect for that color.

Past that, the drop-down demo on the second link is equally well designed, and equally well animated. Overall the nav bar couldn’t be done any better.

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The sidebar features an accordion menu. We talked recently about ways to add accordion menus to WordPress, and Real Estate is a great example of accordions being done well.

Try using it yourself. The design is clean and simple, and it has given the right amount of space to each inactive link for you to rollover. It just works.

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The final JavaScript feature worth noting is the slider on the homepage. By itself, it’s just like any other slider. But as part of the overall design, it’s one more effect that has been done well and works for the site and it’s high focus on product images.

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The footer has 3 images which can all be used as links. They remind me of the footer image links on Apple.com and they are a great way of highlighting your most important content (An ebook or product would be ideal, but even just your 3 best posts would work).

What Could be Done Better?

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The post pages are the one thing that could do with some more work. The post titles are very small and drab. They could be much more decorated and designed to give them some appeal.

Also, the posts all end with the big paragraph of text from the WordPress default theme. That paragraph is just too much information in too small a font for anyone to read. There are better ways to list the date and categories.

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The sidebars are the other area that needs some work. There is nothing in particular wrong with them, it’s just that they’re boring. Compared with the elegance of the navigation bar, the sidebars are just too plain and simple.

As iProduct showed us last week, it doesn’t take much to pull off a great look for a sidebar.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Real Estate is a good theme with a lot of great functionality. There are more extravagantly designed themes, and slicker looking ones out there, but that’s not what Real Estate is trying to be.

Real Estate does what it says, it is for selling real estate. That means it is going to pumped full of housing images, and the slider on the home page and the accordion menu in the sidebar are great for getting this done. The neutral, unassuming design allows the images to stand out.

If you’re looking to take your real estate business to the web, this could well be the theme for you. You can buy it here (Link removed because the theme is breaching Yootheme copyright), currently for $49.99.

But if you’re looking for something flashy and “designed”, you might be better off trying elsewhere.

So, what do you think of Real Estate? Like it or hate it? All comments welcome!

PS – On a side note, DaThemes also have a great free theme out there called Galleria. It’s for displaying your own photo galleries and it looks fantastic! Download it here.

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