The Anatomy of a Great Error 404 Page


After typing in the wrong URL, or even the right one only to find that the content you’re looking for is no longer available, you’re usually greeted by the same message with the headline ‘Error 404’. This message is an internet staple, having been around for well over a decade, but the message can be a little indecipherable to some.

Fortunately, this looks like changing for the better, as many websites have shown in the past few years or so. A number of 404 pages now look far removed from the basic message placed in the top left-hand corner of an otherwise blank webpage, but what makes a great page why? As there’s so much space to work with, they can be used for whatever comes to mind.

Blank canvas for designers

404 pages can be made to be exciting. It might be by using a meme to replace the typical Error 404 text or to go underneath it, be used as advertising space for another part of the website or for a cartoon or image that sits in well with the look of the site as a whole. Alternatively, great 404 pages can have links to the homepage as well as a search query.

These pages can also be used to do some good. One example of how several 404 pages have been used to help the search for a missing person shows that they can be a pretty effective tool in raising awareness of a certain issue. If approached in the right way, a 404 page could be a pretty useful tool for any website.

Here are some exam les of how 404 pages have evolved from a simple text error:





Lileks 404


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