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Soften the Blow of 404 Error Pages

Everybody who uses a computer has undoubtedly clicked on something only to see a 404 error page. There are different explanations behind the message, such as an editor forgetting to remove a link after a blog post was deleted, forgetting to update url’s after migrating a site from development stages to live, etc. Whatever the reason, nobody wants to see that blasted 404 error page.

404 Error Pages

(Pixabay / targut_arslan0)

No matter how many times web developers check and recheck their work, there is always the possibility that some issue will sneak in. Knowing that problems are inevitable, you can at least soften the blow by adding some humor to the error page. The following are some of the steps to make the experience of seeing a “page not found” error a little less irritating.

  • Add a little humor – Web developers can include brief, humorous videos to inform the users that the page they are looking for no longer exists. One example we’ve seen included a video that showed a goat screaming like a human with a printed message about the non-existent page. The users were given the option of going back to the homepage or continuing to listen to the discontented goat.
  • Entertain the visitor – Another way of making the error page more appealing is to focus on entertaining the web visitors. This could be achieved by using animation to relay the 404 error in a clever way.
  • Show off your skills – You can use modern color schemes and creative typography on the error page. Using a unique headline showing creativity and a splash of color will make the error page visually appealing. Note that the design of the error page should be different from the rest of the website to grab users’ attention.
  • Communicate and reroute – It is not enough to tell visitors that they have dead ended into a broken link. To relieve irritation, give them the tools needed to reach their desired destination. Explain why the error happened and what steps to take to reach the page they seek.

Though errors are inevitable, think ahead to turn a negative situation into a positive one and keep your customers around in the process.

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