Revolution Album

Revolution Two themes are gaining a lot of popularity and admiration amongst WordPress theme fanatics, they are probably our favourite developers currently on the scene.

Features:

  • Comes with 7 built in colour schemes
  • Widget ready
  • Easy navigation
  • Avatar ready
  • Suitable for photographers, artists and gallerys

Revolution Album is a theme designed purely for photographers and artists who wish to run a photo blog or a portfolio site. Care has been taken in the development of the design to make sure that the emphasis of your site will be your photos or images with everything else toned down, letting your work speak for itself. As you can see from the image below each photo takes up over 50% of the overall design.

Click for full size preview

Navigation has been made very easy with the simple previous and next buttons that you would expect to find in any well constructed photo blog. However below these is a featured photos strip which allows you to show off the crux of your work. This could very easily be modified into a categories selector. Simply make each of the featured photos a link to a different category and add a suitable tool tip (the text that pops up when your mouse is over an image or button). Or put the category titles directly onto the photos here to create a menu!

Directly under the title of each image / photo is a ‘filed under’ and ‘tagged’ area making it very easy for user to navigate quickly to similar works and projects, basically acting as a quick menu system.

Speaking of menus, all the main navigation has the option to use drop-down menus keeping everything at top level nice and minimal.

We think it would be nice to see EXIF data used within this theme and hope that Revolution consider this for future updates / re-designs. There are plenty of plugins available which will do this job and if you are a dedicated photographer then we recommend that you use them with this theme.

It would also be nice to see the featured photos section integrated into a sliding feature where visitors can simply click a forward or back button to have the next set of photos slide smoothly into place. If you are code savvy then you could do this yourself with some javascript.

If you are looking to sell prints or originals of your work then this theme should be a serious consideration, your customers get a clean professional portfolio to easily browse rather than hundreds of thumbnailed images. There are plenty of plugins to add shop functionality, some of them even allow you to directly accept credit cards as well as the usual paypal etc.

Overall this is a very nice wordpress photo theme. Looking at what else is available on the market it would be very hard to find a website design for any system which can beat this one for either its ease of use or its minimal beauty.

The Bel Air Real Estate Theme

the-bell-air-theme-thumbJust to prove how versatile WordPress themes can be along comes ‘The Bel Air Real Estate Theme‘ This is not just a theme but a complete setup for any property based company wanting to reach a wider audience. All the features you could need for sales or property rental are installed with the theme, including an impressive payment or mortgage calculator (easily converted to any currency), photo galleries for each property and even profiles for the ‘agents’ who do the selling.

In essence you will be able to start selling straight away, the backend or ‘CMS’ admin area is very easy to use so entering and publishing each properties details is painless, making it a powerful piece of real estate software. If you or your client are a real estate agency then this theme should be a serious consideration.

Bel Air comes with a choice of five different colour schemes and it is easy to add your own branding. It is also advert ready with a built in ad banner management system so you can monetize your site or if thats not your cup of tea then use these areas to promote featured properties and services. There’s the obvious areas where details of different rooms etc can be entered. But what really caught our eye was the auto thumbnailing of images (when clcked they open in a lightbox style gallery), and the ‘no custom fields’ ease of use when publishing. The authors of this design have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure that publishing is a breeze and that you (or your client) never have to deal with code or anything tricky.

Features

  • Five colour schemes built in (sea blue, red, navy blue, gold and black)
  • Easy to brand and change the colours (if you don’t like any of the above)
  • Mortgage / payments calculator
  • Image auto thumbnailer
  • Lightbox style photo galleries for each property
  • Featured properties rotated on home page
  • Easy search drop down menus (price, location and type)
  • Advert ready
  • Ad banner management

Click to see pages and features of this site
Click to see pages and features of this site

Our only frustration with this theme is that it is not yet using google maps, which is not exactly new technology and would be a perfect addition to its features. The sites authors WP-Realtor are currently considering adding google maps into a future update of the site. Our advice would be to use one of the many Google Maps plugins availible for WordPress until this update is ready to avoid frustrated customers. Actually there is another ‘bug-bear’ with this theme, you have to by either buy a ‘single agent’ or ‘multi agent’ version. The latter being more expensive. Ok so we haven’t had that much experience with real estate software, well actally we’ve had none at all!! So maybe this is normal in the world of property (let us know below if it is!!) but it does seem strange. However neither ‘agent’ version will break the bank and if you find that you need to upgrade then you can do so easily.

Although The Bel Air Real Estate Theme is limited to estate agents, realtors and property companies (public and commercial) we couldn’t resist featuring it. We think this theme is a fine example of how to turn WordPress into an individualised e-commerce platform, something which WordPress developers and designers have been getting better and better at over the last few years (thanks to amazing advances in WordPress itself) and it is finally blasting the fated osCommerce out of the water, not only in aesthetics and functionality but most importantly with innovation.