Phoenix Web Design – Tips on Designing Your Website’s 404 Page (Part 1)

If you don’t know, a 404 page appears when someone clicks a broken link. It’s a standard response to a non-existent page. However, not a lot customize the error message on the 404 page. Typically, it will just display a message that the link you clicked is “NOT FOUND.” Depending on your preference, you can choose to apply unique message prompts. Web designers tend to deviate from the traditional approach.

In this post, I will give you tips on how to creatively present your 404 page, and how to help web visitors navigate into a page that’s 100% working. Read the helpful tips below:

  • Tone it down!
  • Your web visitors are already frustrated that they got an error upon clicking a link. This your opportunity to pacify the situation, and remind them that the people behind the scenes are working on it.
  • It wouldn’t help if you will just give them a generic prompt, making the page impersonal and cold. This will just make your web visitors more frustrated and leave the your website.
    • How to lighten the mood?
    • Be like a friendly customer service representative.
    • You can customize your 404 page using a friendly tone. Design it with an inviting and warm atmosphere. Remind them that you are still fixing it. Say something like, “Hello there, are terribly sorry about that. You are seeing this because the link you clicked may be incorrect or outdated.”
    • Share a joke.
    • Your web visitors already feel bad because they see an error. Lighten up the situation by cracking a joke. Insert puns to ease the inconvenience. For example, “Ooops! The link is broken. Now, our hearts are too. Let us find you a match ASAP!” Then, below the message, you can provide more options for them to clicks.
  • Broken links... and other broken things! </3

    Broken links… and other broken things! </3

    • Be sassy.
    • You don’t have to be always following a certain path. Grab the attention of your web visitors by showing an image of literally a broken page like Blizzard’s 404 page. Yes, it may shock them, but it offers a cheeky and unexpected response.
    • Add interactive games.
    • When you visit Kualo and you can’t seem to go to a link provided, it will say that the invaders took over the page. A game similar to Space Invaders will then appear. Guess what? It’s an actually game. The bearer of bad news becomes a highly addictive game. Now, that’s a creative way of turning an error message to a fun and interactive page!
    • On the plus side, if you score over 1000 points, you will get a web hosting discount. This proves that 404 pages need NOT to be a source of disappoint. It can also be a bearer of good news!
    • Deep web.
    • Yes, your 404 page can be friendly, sassy, and funny. However, this is also a chance to be informative! You can suggest other helpful links on your website. Offer them articles that will teach them new things.
    • The National Public Radio’s 404 page offers a list of people and things that also mysteriously disappeared. One popular example is the American aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart. It will surely make you forget about the broken link. Instead, you will ponder about the intriguing story you just read.
  • That’s it for now! If you want more 404 design tips, part 2 is posted here!