Design the error 404 page to be entertaining

In the book Web Strategy for Everyone there are given a number of tips on how to design the Error 404 page for it to be useful and beneficial. Something that one does not have place in a printed book is to showcase a bunch of examples of how these pages might look like.

These figures is something we encounter on a regular basis on the Web. 404, 410 and numbers like 500-something. They are so-called status codes from the Web’s protocol HTTP, you know that found in the beginning of the addresses on the Web.

On my most recent trip to Stockholm, I got room number 404. Imagine my geeky surprise when I arrive on the fourth floor and the door is actually there, plus there was a room behind the door 🙂

Amusing error 404 pages

The book Web Strategy for Everyone show, among others, how Spotify has a cute mascot to divert the attention and relief any visitor’s frustration. In this blog post I will show a bunch of entertaining and well thought-out Error 404 pages.

See these as inspiration and consider what you can do with your own error 404 page. Unfortunately, many still require having Adobe Flash installed to see the 404 pages , there is not really smart when fewer and fewer do not have it, and it definitely does not work for those who get 404 on a cell phone. Another quite common blunder is that you failed to make the 404-page responsive, so sometimes it is both fun and rewarding if you are browsing with a computer browser in full screen. That’s too bad!

Technology

Github

Error 404 at Github

Github is the service where virtually all open source projects are now located. Sometimes the projects are renamed and then we land on this Error 404 page. I’m not sure if there is a Star Wars reference with the craft and the sandy landscape. What do you think? Anyway, it is nicely coded with parallax scrolling when you move the mouse pointer over the image.

Sitespeed.io and their cute mascot

404 at sitespeed.io

Sitespeed.io is consistently showing their mascot in all kind of roles. Of course the mascot is helping out with the 404, in a Batman-themed setting.

Google Search

Error 404 when using Google Search

Google has a robot that seems to have dismantled itself.

Airbnb drops the ice cream

Error 404 at Airbnb

Airbnb makes the small effort and puts at least an image to lighten their error 404 page up a bit.

CSS-Tricks shows the underlying CSS

Error 404-page at css-tricks

A bit like the CSS code punctured the cloth of the HTML code and made the CSS code take a peek at the user.

Dropbox allows an impossible variation of its logo

Error 404-page at Dropbox

Guessing I’m not the only one to get headache when looking at that kind of sketches with impossible angles. Creative, though!

Tableau has found sasquatch

Tableau's error 404-page

Visualization company Tableau has found sasquatch in its visualization engine. Now there ought to be no opposing the evidence that they are in fact real?

Public sector

American space agency NASA

Space agency NASA's Error 404-page

NASA say that the reason why the page has disappeared is because it is behind the event horizon. Certainly a blast for those who are more knowledgable in physics than myself, but at least appropriate to talk about something they themselves are good at.

Delaware jokes about its name – Dela-where?

Dela-where? The Error 404-page at Delaware

Certainly a cheap joke, and something those who live there often hear, but it cannot be that common for the public sector to be joking in this way – it could of bores be perceived as frivolous.

Other sites

IMDB brings appropriate movie quotes

IMDB's Error 404-page

Film service IMDB offers quotes from movies on their 404 page. It is hard to stop reloading the page to see what suitable quotes they’ve found.

Hillary Clinton failing

Hillary Clinton's Error 404-page is showing her failing swiping a card

Hillary Clinton’s campaign site for the presidential campaign 2016 shows a GIF when she fails to swipe her card to open a gate. It looks to be at a subway somewhere.

IKEA Sweden excels, but a bore internationally

In the Swedish part of the IKEA website, a person who literally painted himself into a corner. Maybe they could not find something similar figuratively to the international site where they did the bare minimum. Internet seem to suggest that ”paint into a corner” is also and idiom in English, so perhaps they just didn’t dare?

Comedy Central brings out their characters

Error 404-page of Comedy Central with Soutpark character Mr Mackey

Comedy Central vary the characters they show up so it is easy to click the refresh button a few times.

The New Yorker and the labyrinth

The New Yorker's error 404-page

A rat that got lost in a maze, yeah, why not.

Amazon showcases employees’ dogs

Error 404-page and Amazon showcase employees' dogs

Amazon chooses to showcase a new dog every time you land on their error 404-page. These dogs are “working” on Amazon and they also explains that there are dog treats and fountains in the appropriate height for dogs. Why not tell us what a great offices they have and that employees are welcome to bring their four-legged friend to the office.

Dilbert: The pointy-haired boss is fooled

Dilbert's pointy-haired boss fooled at Error 404-page

The manager, the pointy-haired boss, is fooled that the Internet is full. Appropriate to have a special series just for error 404 in Dilbert.

As previously mentioned, it is also important that your error 404 page is usable and properly designed. It is one of many topics in the book Web Strategy for Everyone – available for about 10 $ + VAT.

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