The 404 page, the crushing realisation that somewhere, somehow, you have got terribly lost. It’s irritating, confusing, but it can also be a whole lot of fun.
While some sites offer visitors standard error messages, others combine personality and creativity to entertain their visitors, and potential customers, with a slightly more unique experience.
Take a look at GitHub’s amusing 404 page, their Star Wars themed error message, complete with the GitHub logo dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi, fits in nicely with the coding sites geeky motif.
A well-designed 404 page is a valuable customer service tool, giving a site a face amongst a sea of competition. Interactive error messages like Figma’s – rendered in vectors which can be reshaped until your fingers are numb – demonstrates a company’s dedication to both anchor points, and vanquishing the frustration that comes with following a broken link.
Home Star Runner
It’s not unlikely that an impressive 404 page will find itself the subject of tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts. Home Star Runner, which features comical characters, downloads, and games, has an error page which shouts “404’d” at you when you first land. It’s suitably hand-drawn characters and personalised message mean it’s almost like finding a hidden Easter egg.
Daniel Karcher Film Design Studios
A top standard 404 page can actually act as a showcase of your company’s abilities. A chance to demonstrate what you do, and that you do it well. Error pages like Daniel Karcher Film Design Studios’, which features a train rolling into a station with lost and missing posters, are particularly beneficial for companies in the creative industry, where opportunities to exhibit your uniqueness and talent are all important.
Speaking of uniqueness, artist Steve Lambert has created possibly the most unusual 404 page of all time. The appropriately entitled video “the most awkward 404 not found on the internet”, features himself explaining that there’s lots more to do on the site than just hanging around the error page. The whole thing is a good 5 minutes’ long, and it’s witty and amusing nature make it extremely memorable.
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