The Rain and The Shade

January 28, 2012

Mother of all useless User Interfaces

Filed under: Windows Azure — ovaisakhter @ 8:05 am

I recently was sent a phone from Nokia Connect for testing. When they sent the phone then sent an email with a DHL tracking number. You click this link and you all sort of information. I was very excited and was looking a this link quite often. I realized that this tracking page is a brilliant example of how clueless an engineer can be in capturing the user requirements.

The tracking entries started like Shipment picked up Hurray one useful information, then “Processed at Lambeth – UK” what? and after that there have been 10 similar entries. I got a glint of hope when I saw the entry “Departed Facility in LONDON-HEATHROW – UK” I thought super now it will be flying to Denmark but the next entry (after about 10 hours) was “Shipment on hold BRUSSELS – BELGIUM” ah ok so it so it goes to Belgium from UK but does it come to Denmark from there or it goes to Germany from there and then to Denmark I have no clue.


I am thinking what would have been the requirement stated when this page was made. “User should be able to see the status of their shipment” and that is what this page is doing. But why exactly user wants to know/track the status of his shipment certainly to know when he will be able to get this shipment and that is one information that is missing from this page. Usually the installation wizards or data entry forms tell you that you are at the step 1 of 5 imagine a wizard telling you are at step 2 without telling you the total number of steps I am sure you will be as lost as I am.

The information in this tracking page may only be deciphered if you have in depth knowledge of DHL’s routes and the time it takes to go between each hop, otherwise you will be clueless. It is like showing the “Object null exception” as a message box to the user, it is like putting your log file on the user interface.

I am sure DHL spent a lot of money on this system and came up with this amazingly connected system which show step by step information to the user which has no practical use for him.

I can given few suggests on how these guys can improve the this page

  1. Put an expected arrival date
  2. Reduce the movements to only City level (if most cases)
  3. Add some type of progress bar on the page so that the movements can make sense

In the mean while this page will remain my reference point on how not to do a user interface.


  1. Well said…there is another funny part in this interface..showing pieces as 1 in the whole way…imagine if this 1 turns to something else during the track…
    I used UPS .. and there interface was really awesome..was showing arrival date and places and speciallg mentioning any delays..

    Comment by Aakif Hassan — January 28, 2012 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  2. […] Mother of all useless User Interfaces #UIDesign #Dhl #usability #software Link – Trackbacks Posted in User experience (UX) | Permalink. ← Showing […]

    Pingback by Blogged: Mother of all useless User Interfaces #UIDesign #Dhl #usability #software | — January 29, 2012 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

  3. […] Mother of all useless User Interfaces #UIDesign #Dhl #usability #software Link – Trackbacks Posted in User experience (UX) | Permalink. ← New Collection of Bokeh […]

    Pingback by Blogged: Mother of all useless User Interfaces #UIDesign #Dhl #usability #software | — January 29, 2012 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: