[Plugin: WP e-Commerce] I Give Up!
I really wanted to love WP e-commerce and was looking forward to setting up my site. I started with fresh WP and WP e-commerce installs. But from the get-go, it has been awfully tough. The language of the interface is not nearly as intuitive as I suspect its designers think it is.
It is a nightmare to sort out what the difference is between Categories and Groups, and this is exceedingly frustrating because it’s clear that if you don’t get this right, your shop will not function properly.
Instead of offering a simple explanation, or a glossary, the page where you take care of this task uses the terms “Group” and “Category” in a dizzying and seemingly interchangeable manner.
This page is called Product Categories, and it instructs us to:
- Categorize products into groups
- Manage a group that is itself called “Categories”
- Add new categories
- ..and add new groups
When we want to add a new group, the action button says “Submit”, but when we want to add a new category, the button says “Add Group” (either that, or the “Add New Categories” function is broken). Regardless, it is nearly impossible to get a handle on what the hierarchy is supposed to be, and whether “Groups” and “Categories” are actually distinct, or if they are the same thing, with bad UI language.
When you finally succeed in adding a product to your cart, chances are it will not show up on your site’s pages, or if the Category listing does get displayed, the product detail page (or whatever), is nowhere to be found. Somewhere in the documentation there is a note about “adding a page,” but it is never explained beyond that. So you have just enough intel to feel certain you’ve done it wrong and that you cannot solve it. For me, it was…infuriating.
It’s not just me. I’ve spent the past 36-hours tearing my hair out over this plugin, and dozens of Google searches have revealed tons of users in the same boat as I’m in.
Although the author site (http://www.instinct.co.nz) does have a forum, any sort of easily digestible, Quick Start is lacking. Instead, the authors point to the $35 downloadable E-commerce Bible that, according to user notes online, is 150-pages long. I am in no way opposed to a great guidebook, but I do resent needing to pay $35 just to see if the product works at all. A $35 guidebook is for once you know something works, but you need some help going deeper, or deciding if it’s the best product for your particular needs.
I feel bad posting this. I know the developers have worked really hard on their product. And while some folks (perhaps many) may have managed to get a shop up and running, there seem to be major issues with the UI/Documentation, the code, or both, that make it likely this will not be a viable plug-in — even if, like me, you are just looking for basic use, without customization.
This plugin has so many potentially great features. If the documentation were only improved to make getting started a reasonable task, I would try WP e-commerce again.
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