Where’s my order?

Note: This post is over 4 years old. It was first published in November 2006

DV247.COM – fairly standard e-commerce site. I ordered something on Friday and on Monday started to wonder what day I needed to stay in for collection. Here’s their order status page:

DV247 Order Status Page

Now I couldn’t see any indication here of whether it had been shipped or not. I was expecting a status column or even a little legend that tells me what the types of status are and what they mean. DV247 does have this and it’s what gave me the clue required to solve this Soduku-like puzzle. The trouble is it’s buried on their help page which is on another part of the site entirely.

This is the trouble with documentation. It’s usually some distance away from the thing it’s documenting. So you have to decide you need help, stop what you are doing, figure out where the documentation is, work your way through the categories and contents to something that looks like it might answer your question and then figure out how to get back to what you were doing.

Of course instead of this I just looked up their number, picked up the phone and tried to ring up and ask them. I’m lazy like that.

Some thoughts:

  1. Do you really need a ‘help’ section on your website? If you’ve made such a pigs ear of your site design that you even need to document things then document the things themselves right there on the page next to them
  2. You shouldn’t need to explain to your customers how to work out the delivery status of their order. It’s such a basic task it should be so obvious that even someone like me can figure it out.
  3. If you get lots of phone calls from customers asking you questions about stuff that should be easy to find on your website then this may be a clue that there’s something up with your website. And don’t forget all the calls you don’t get because that customer gave up and buggered off to one of your competitors…

Anyway – going back to the order status, here’s the relevant info from their help page:

“We advise all customers to Log-in to our site and view their order status records. Your order status will change from ‘New’ to ‘Confirmed when item/s are picked from our warehouses to dispatch. The status will change once more, to ‘Shipped’, when one or more of your ordered items has been dispatched from one of our warehouses.”

So the answer to the puzzle is this. You see that little word ‘new’ on the top line of the order? That’s the bit that tells me it hasn’t been shipped yet. I didn’t even see that word when I was looking for my order status!
Am I just Mr Thicky, here? Would anyone else have figured that one out without looking it up in help?