Article Submitted by Tony Petros of Website Design Express
Almost every power internet user knows what a 404 error page is. Usually, when one gets to a page such as this one, the message can leave them confused or irritable.
However, there are a few websites that actually take this opportunity to turn this ‘broken link’ into an opportunity to keep the visitor on their website. So, here are 3 key principles to keep in mind when designing a 404 page:
#1: Tell them what type of page it is
Stemming from the knowledge that the internet is made for no-technical users, it’s important to explain what kind of a page a 404 page is. Moreover, this can be very confusing for the reader because they would have never come across such a page before. So, explain what the page is simply and clearly.
#2: The page must make an excellent impression on users
The first thing that comes to mind when someone visits a broken link (and a 404 page) is to wonder what has happened to the website. If you, as a web designer, take it as an opportunity to turn it into a ‘wow’ moment, your reader will more likely won’t leave the website.
#3: Originality is a must
While this tip is really an extension of the previous one, make sure that you combine visuals and text on this page as if it were a landing page – meaning to say, being treated as an important and original page, in terms of design. Use your imagination or refer to other sites’ 404 pages to find out how you can turn this mistake into an opportunity. In fact, your design must be so awe-inspiring that it makes them want to visit other pages on the site.