Charities using internet marketing to attract donations from businesses and members of the public are being held back by poor website usability, it has been suggested.

According to research carried out by Nielsen Norman Group in the United States, many charity websites contain so-called donation killers – usability issues which put people off making donations or prevent them from doing so.

The study shows that 53 per cent of donation killers relate to poor content, missing information and unclear text, while 47 per cent can be attributed to the design of the site and its pages.

In 17 per cent of cases, visitors to the 23 charity websites examined by Nielsen could not work out where to go to make their contribution.

Meanwhile, a study carried out recently by revealed that train companies are also being hampered by poor website usability.

Some 33 per cent of the journeys its volunteers tried to book through rail sites were successful, compared to 98 per cent of those on airline sites.

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