Gadgets Magazine

Tips for Making an Outstanding 404 Page

Posted on the 05 December 2013 by Nrjperera @nrjperera

Chances are, the vast majority of people who use the internet on a regular basis have come across the odd 404 error page. Informing us that the server couldn’t access the page we were looking for, these pages can sometimes be incredibly irritating.

Whether it’s through a dead or a broken link, the appearance of a 404 page can really disturb the flow of search and can often drive us away from the website. However, a new trend in 404 pages is not only keeping people on site but being actively followed by some.

Make ‘em laugh

The internet is home to some of the most obscure humor in the world and it’s great to see some companies taking note of what people like to see online. While no one wants to see a business go particularly controversial, it’s refreshing that big businesses are paying attention to the everyday customer.

By adding a reference or image of a meme, we’re far more likely to pay attention to the rest of the website. Some companies have even created their own inside jokes on a 404 page making them something to actually search for!

Staying helpful

A lot of companies have also realised how annoyed customers can become by having their search interrupted. While the 404 page can’t be psychic and automatically know what we’re looking for, it’s great to see extra options other than clicking ‘back’.

Adding a search bar and links to other popular and helpful articles on the site is much more likely to keep up on site than offering no help at all. Even a link to the home page is better than nothing!

Here are some good examples that you can take inspiration from:

Southpark Studios 404

SouthPark404

The 404 page that South Park Studios have created fits the brand and draws on the show’s tongue-in-cheek humor. Fans of the show expect this kind of humor on the site and it shows that they understand their audience. It includes a simple link back to the homepage.

Geeksquad

Geeksquad404

A lot of brands see their 404 page as an opportunity to show off their fun and creative side and again this draws on humor to do that. They recognize a problem and apologise, but importantly they offer links to help lost customers find what they’re looking for, keeping them on the site for longer.

Centerd

Centerd

The error page on Centerd.com is both helpful and cute. They acknowledge the error and again point the user back to the home page to help them find what they’re looking for. They use humor (and the internet’s favorite animal) to keep the user’s attention on the site. The emotive use of the kitten makes the brand seem more personable.

Dawdle

Dawdle404

Dawdle’s Mario 404 page is the classic example of doing something differently. Dawdle.com bought and sold video games and this Mario themed 404 page reflects the brand and their audience. The reference to their princess being in another castle is reference to the game and is something that the site’s users will understand.

Virgin Holidays Cruises

VirginCruises404

Virgin Holiday Cruises’ error page shows the distance that 404 error pages have come from the early days of the simple text error. This error page makes use of animation and points the user in the right direction. It includes helpful dropdown boxes so the user can easily search for cruises and even a map to help them navigate away from the desert island. It keeps the user on the site the potential to convert this into sales is increased.

 


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