There is something that’s more frustrating than landing to a broken page: the unintelligent design of the page. Never mind if you have a broken link, it’s not unusual, so we don’t need to dial 100 for that. But why can’t you design the page in an interesting manner? This is how a bad very bad broken page looks like:
Yeah, that’s all. A blank space and a small dislikeable message. Nothing more. No wonder why visitors dump such boring websites! A broken page almost breaks your relationship with the website and the brand it represents. Consider I search online for a product, say a pizza. I get a website that sells pizza, and then I click on it. What do I find? A 404 error!
The page does not exist; the product is not available. In the real world, it appears as if someone is coming out from behind the counter without any pants on. Do I want to see someone like that? How do I feel? I feel a typical 404 feeling.
But what is a 404 page?
A broken link or a 404 error page is a default page in the website that appears when you search something that it cannot find out. So, by default, the website directs you to a 404 page.
You can find on Wikipedia (yeah, it too has a 404 page) that there is a list of such occurrences when the client seemed to have erred. The errors are coded in 4xx form, so you have 400 error that is about a bad request, and then 407 error that asks for proxy authentication and so on.
The “404 error” means “The requested resource could not be found but may be available again in the future. Subsequent requests by the client are permissible.
These broken errors are like some unwanted interruption, like the one you have when you are just about to sleep, and your room mate raises the volume of his stereo system. You just can’t sleep now, and in case of websites, that is a terrible case because many a customers will abandon your website if they encounter a broken page. Especially in the case of e-commerce or retail websites, when the customer wants to purchase a particular product, and the website shows an annoying broken page, his enthusiasm will naturally fall.
How do we solve this issue?
Now I am not so much into technicalities and have a very limited understanding of how to get those 404 pages removed from your website. But consider for a moment that there is no way I can remove those pages: what should I do then?
I will instead make such pages interesting and responsive so that despite being a disappointing terminal, the page visitor will stay engaged with the website. And since this page is the place that has no purpose except informing that the visitor has landed on a wrong page, it does have a lot of blank space.
Why not use that space and create something meaningful so that not only the purpose is served, but also it creates a long-lasting impact on the page visitor? Let’s look at these interesting and appealing 404 pages:
1.Angaar: For it’s weirdness, and the entertainment it generates
2. Blue Daniel: Amazing graphics and good concept
3.Catalyst Studios:Cute expressions and has a brand continuation
4.Inspiredology:Science favoring humor? This one does.
A few features of an ideal 404 error page are:
Avoid displaying flat messages like “Wrong page.” It’s like accepting a crime without any guilt. Rather use meaningful content to express the regret but also motivate the page visitor to navigate to the other pages.
How do you expect the user to go to another page when you haven’t provided him with easy navigation options?
Most of the times, when we don’t get what we want, we search for another related product or thing. But search where? Very few 404 pages have included this feature. It’s a simple thing, a search box, no big deal isn’t it? But do you see the difference? With a search box available, the user can try searching again, and your prospects are not totally killed.