Coming across a 404 page is never a pleasant experience. Knowing that web surfers are an impatient lot and the browser back button is just a click away, it is the duty of the developer to ensure visitors stick around if they come across the error page. Here are some examples of the best 404 pages from popular web sites. I hope they help you in coming up with ideas for creating and designing one for your site.
As these examples will show, 404 pages don’t need to be places of regret and sorrow. One can enliven things up with humour, imagination and fun. And you can even use the page as a brand building exercise.
We also suggest checking out our 404 error page which has great tips.
They have a Pac-Man style game! A FREAKIN’ PAC-MAN STYLE GAME! Awesome!
One of the most creative 404 pages and I’m sure they know that too!
My two cents – a 404 can also result from following a bad link from another site. So they *can* add another circle to their Venn diagram.
Those four minifigures crying out in woe! That got me lolling.
Shows the popular Travolta Meme of 2015. For those who want to know more, the small clip is from Quentin Tarantino’s seminal movie Pulp Fiction when John Travolta’s character goes to meet Uma Thurman.
Has an animated gif quite like 9gag. I love the blaze!
Simple, clever and masterfully done!
Bit.ly seems dead and is floating upside down.
A “like” with a bandaged thumb?
I love the humour at Thinkgeek and they have extended their witty remarks to the 404 page.
It’s always a good idea to make a 404 page fun!
The Bloomberg.com business web site error page has a creepy animation of a man throwing a desktop off a table and probably shredding himself!
A 404 page doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the fault of the site owner. It could result from the visitor typing the web address incorrectly or following a badly formed link from another site. These things are beyond the control of the site developer.
Having said that, what really grinds my gears is that a lot many 404 pages leave me “lost” when, as a web developer, I know that fix is easy. The simplest solution is to put a search and/or link to the sitemap page. This can be implemented in just a few minutes.
As for the 404 for your site, you have carte blanche. Be creative. Add a little wit, sprinkle some sarcasm and humour… whatever you do, make it slick and do put a search form!
For this web site, we took a different route. Since the site is primarily for the budding web developer, our 404 page explains why the error happens and what developers can do to fix it.
I also believe that the 404 page, in a way, celebrates the intrinsic nature of the web – it’s constantly in flux, forever changing. And talking about celebrations, the 4th of April is “celebrated” as the 404 day!
The terms "hypertext", "hypermedia" and "virtuality" were coined by Ted Nelson in the 1960s. This was way before the invention of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Nelson, one of the great futurists of the last century, had written about the idea of a global network of computers in his books. He called his network Xanadu. Incidentally, in the reference list of original proposal for the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee had put Ted Nelson's work at the top place. [more...]