We Brits are a fussy lot when it comes to websites, and rightly so. According to a new report out this week from the Abbey National — if a website isn't up to our standards we won't revisit.

Badly designed websites are damaging firms' prospects of doing business on the web, says the report.

"It is in the interests of all to ensure that websites are not based on what web designers think looks impressive, but rather give consumers what they want in the form they want it," said Ben Lovejoy, from research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres.

A key recommendation from the report is that companies follow the '20 second' rule. Those questioned said they generally only gave a website between 10 and 30 seconds to catch their interest before they headed off to another site.

"The approach offline retailers take to fulfilling their customers' needs should equally be applied by online retailers," said Dr Nick Brian-Kinns analyst at Darestep, who helped compile the research. "You wouldn't expect to spend 20 minutes at the front of a clothes shop looking for the trouser department, so why should the net be any different?"

A second survey from the NOP research group released today has found consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with long, complicated web addresses.

The study showed that 80 percent of users struggle to find a website at the first attempt.

"It's no wonder people get frustrated. Some addresses have no relation to the company. With a shop you can see what's inside, but with a website you can only view it once you have typed in the address," said a spokesman at the Consumers Association.