404 Error Pages: Reloaded

Three weeks ago we’ve showcased some of the most beautiful, creative and user-friendly 404 Error Pages; we’ve collected some interesting ideas one can use to help out the visitors once they got lost ony your page. We’ve also asked our readers to design their own 404 pages and promised to present the best solutions afterwards.

We’ve received over 100 entries. The choice wasn’t easy, so evaluating the quality of the entries we’ve considered – among other things – the communication with visitors, precise and clear navigation, the use of graphics, creative ideas and some outstanding solutions. Some of the solutions presented below might not be as helpful as they could or should be, however they include some creative approaches you should be aware of designing your 404 error pages.

We’d like to thank to everyone who participated, your input means a lot for us and for web-designers worldwide. You help to improve the quality of the Web. Don’t underestimate it.

So here is what you’ve come out with: over 40 working examples of user-friendly, creative and outstanding 404 error pages – in a brief overview.

1. Appealing images

A really dirty, hand-made image with a comment – for despaired visitors only. The page also includes a search box.

404 Error Page Example

Rainfall Daffinson makes sure you don’t feel lost.

404 Error Page Example

Even a 404-error page can look stylish.

404 Error Page Example

A book with the page which couldn’t be found.

404 Error Page Example

404 Error Page Example

404 Error Page Example

Jamie Huskisson communicates with “lost” visitors using imagery.

404 Error Page Example

404 error as time on a clock.

404 Error Page Example

Sometimes you can feel or even smell that you’re definitely not on the page you wanted to visit.

404 Error Page Example

2. Getting poetic

404 error haiku. Informative, however a direct link to the start page would be quite useful.

404 Error Page Example

Three more haikus by Lumino.us. Plus beer to keep you company.

404 Error Page Example

And one more haiku by alt-web.com.

404 Error Page Example

BlueVertigo offers a poem with horizontal scrolling.

404 Error Page Example

A small poem about the 404 error by Poemofquotes.com

404 Error Page Example

Jacob Thomas quotes Winston Churchill and informs lost visitors that the page they’ve been looking for seems to have been burnt down by a puckish elf called ‘Prontyr’.

404 Error Page Example

Darren Hoyt appeals to the humanity of mistakes and errors and communication with visitors directly.

404 Error Page Example

3. Communicate through emotions

Isn’t he sad…

404 Error Page Example

…however, Cat Content seems to be doing well…

404 Error Page Example

…and Krystal gets no biscuit.

404 Error Page Example

4. Communicate through irony

Maybe an idiot has passed you the wrong link or maybe a bigger idiot has linked in their site to a page that doesn’t exist. In both cases the big boss man has been sent an email informing him of this problem, so the person responsible can be tied to a tree and horsewhipped! Nice to know.

404 Error Page Example

Martin Yelland has some good explanations about what happened: strange little Web Gremlins or fluctuations of the Earth’s Magnetic field might have caused the error – however, a team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.

404 Error Page Example

Even although you’re a douche bag, you can use a search box to get to the page you’ve been looking for.

404 Error Page Example

Apparently, this is a test of the emergency broadcast systems. You should remain calm, these kinds of things happen all the time. The “four oh four error” by Poropoptrt.com.

404 Error Page Example

5. While you are lost…

…you can read a comic…

404 Error Page Example

…or more comics (the image is changing after every reload)…

404 Error Page Example

…get two cocktail recipes…

404 Error Page Example

…die…

404 Error Page Example

…don’t count to 404 (the site also provides a search box and a tag cloud)…

404 Error Page Example

6. Explain what happened.

Explanation in a well-designed visualization of what happened.

404 Error Page Example

Be aware when you’ve reached a buzzless page…

404 Error Page Example

404 Error Page Example

7. Explain what can be done.

404 Error Page Example

Foobr offers a detailed explanation on what can be done and what the “lost” visitor might be looking for.

404 Error Page Example

404 Error Page Example

3amproductions.net suggests pages the visitor might be looking for.

404 Error Page Example

Renet-web.met offers recent posts and a search box.

404 Error Page Example

8. Unusual solutions.

Shocking visitors with colors – interesting, but not quite appealing…

404 Error Page Example

Blue Screen Of Death on the Web.

404 Error Page Example

Sorabji.com lists what people were looking for when they got the 404 Page Error. Interesting approach, however not recommendable – think of spambots.

404 Error Page Example

9. Be sincere.

Jeremy seems to be really sorry about the missing page…

404 Error Page Example

…so is Rainer…

404 Error Page Example

10. Do whatever you want to do.

This is not a working example, since the site isn’t using the page as a working 404 error page. Nevertheless it’s quite funny: the characters are talking, and as you might suggest, they are talking about 404 errors!

404 Error Page Example

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