You may want your website to accomplish a variety of organizational goals, but a steady stream of online donations are an essential goal for all not for profit websites.
For that reason, donation pages continue to be a central part of nonprofit website design. If you’ve succeeded in designing a great donation process, that guides website visitors to your donate page and makes it easy for them to donate, then you are likely to increase the amount of income your raise online.
However before you even get to the visual look (the user interface) of your design, the more critical design work involves understanding how you will organise and present your form fields to make the process as easy and clear as possible. There are four ways that charities can capture information within donation forms. Choosing the right one can be critical to creating a good donaton process
Single page donation forms
All donation information fields are placed on a single page.
- there’s only one submit button to press
- a single URL gives access to all form fields
- it doesn’t force a fixed order of completion
- you benefit from context of neighbouring sections
- progress is self-evident
- long forms can be overwhelming and off-putting
- it’s less well suited to branching or non-linear flow
- how do you save partial progress?
- can be harder to track analytics like drop-off rates
- making validation errors usable is harder
Multi step form
Many charities opt for a multi-step donation process that breaks down the donation form into small bite sized chunks. By guiding donors through a series of pages with small bits of information you can simplify the process.
- it’s easier to handle branching and dependencies between questions
- it’s easier to let the user save progress
- a transaction can feel more manageable
- easier to guide a user through an unfamiliar process
- easier to capture analytics like drop-off rates for each section
- harder to show progress
- uers have to click more to progress through the questions
- you lose the context of neighbouring questions
- you need to build a seperate page to review and edit questions
- doesn’t naturally handle non-linear processes like looping, adding and removing
Accordion donation form
All information fields are placed on a single page, but each new question only appears once the previous section has been completed.
- can handle branching and dependencies between sections
- users can review and edit previous questions at any time
- can help guide a user through an unfamiliar process
- user still benefits from some surrounding context
- progress is clear
- Implementation and interface is more complex
Done well, option 3 is a hybrid of the other two that has benefits of both the other options. Within this hybrid option there are still some important design decisions to make. For example:
For more complicated transactions, some combination of the other options might be your best bet.
Again, done well this can give you the benefits of both the single page and wizard approaches. It also allows you to create a sense of rhythm to the overall flow, which can help people to understand when they have moved into a different part of the transaction, and break up the monotony of filling in forms.
As always, these design decisions must have a strong, user-centred rationale behind them. Choose a structure for your donation forms that most naturally fits the way people need to use them.