Error 404 page: make it creative and useful

Arriving at a 404 page is quite disturbing for users and also a real nightmare for companies. The importance of this page is usually underestimated a lot. It is actually an essential part of a website and designed in a proper way, it can avoid users closing it. It can even keep them interested. Creating a nice Error 404 page gives companies a lot of credit in the eyes of users and it also gives them the chance to be creative in their own way – be it funny, sarcastic or anything at all. There is a huge difference between a simple standard error page, which has a really big chance to make users leave it, and a great error page which entertains people or even makes them laugh. Also, a good 404 page earns websites the bigger possibility to be visited by the same users again.

There are now plenty of interesting error pages. Some of them are beautiful, others comic – whatever style is chosen for a 404 page, it increases the chance to make users like a certain website even more.

error 404 page

What does it have to be

To put an error page in use, the first thing that has to be considered is what kind of approach would be preferred by users of the particular website. Imagination and creativity are essential. It’s not that easy to create an interesting page and it requires a really good idea, which then has to be designed well. To attract users, it always helps to have a message that is brief, clear and interesting, and an image that will work as an attention grabber. In order to be not only amusing but functional as well, a 404 page should give users the option to go back to the home page of the website. It will also do good to explain what the issue might be, such as a removed or a non-existent page, and then encourage them to try again.

Types of 404 error pages

There are many interesting ideas for an error page that companies come up with. It can be anything they find attractive, so it’s really up to them to decide. Most of them, however, seem to count on humorous error pages with funny messages. These appear to be the most successful ones. A few good examples are boredpanda.com, focuslabllc.com and southparkstudios.com’ error pages, which are funny and can definitely turn the unfortunate situation of landing on this page into a short pleasant experience.

Another technique companies try to reach users with is communicating with them through their 404 pages. An example is kottke.org’s page which has an interesting message, starting with the words ‘404. You’re screwed’. Coca-Cola’s web site is a great example too. What they do is they use the 404 page to communicate with the visitors of their website and approach them with an inspiring message.

Being sincere is a good method too. If the error page includes an apology, an honest explanation and a suggestion how to cope with the problem, this can effectively influence users and make them stay on the website.

Another very interesting approach is a game error page. Klapp has made a whole game which users who enter a 404 page can play.

Must-do

It’s not only the design and funny message what attracts users in an error page. It has to be useful too – they’ve entered the website for a reason after all. One of the features a successful 404 error page should have is a search bar. If the page’s been removed, the error page must give visitors the chance to search where it’s been moved to. Including contact information and thus giving users the possibility to reach you in case they haven’t found what they needed is important too. Adding a link to the homepage of the website makes is easier for visitors and also increases the chance that they stay on the website and try from the start, than leave it.

There are now many ways to make a disturbing 404 error page an interesting and funny little experience. All that is needed is to come up with a nice idea and realize it in a creative way, so that users can appreciate the effort and even enjoy it – thus, not leave a website.

Rose knows a lot about technologies and Internet. She works as a web designer an her last job is http://www.qualitycleaninglondon.co.uk/cleaning-services-w10-north-kensington/.

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