There’s a good chance you’ve come across the 404 page before. You know the page I mean? Hastily typing in the URL of a page you desperately want to seek out, only for a bland, empty, ‘Error 404 – this page does not exist’ message to flash before your eyes.
It may as well just swear in your face, you know, a good old fashioned profanity.
So that may be a little harsh, but just a bit of humanity or humour – that’s all it would take and perhaps that fleeting feeling of failure would be removed. Thankfully, some companies are cottoning onto this and are creating 404 pages that delight and engage their potential customers. After all, it makes perfect business sense.
Whether it’s an image of Homer Simpson, alongside the obligatory ‘DOH!’ catchphrase, or a photo of a guy with a really bad 80s mullet and the caption ‘Something went wrong, very, very, very wrong’ – anything to distract the customer from the fact they messed up. There are even web sites set up dedicated to celebrating the best and most shared 404 pages on the net.
Of course, this tactic isn’t going to work with everyone. Not everyone has a sense of humour. My granddad is no technophobe, and uses the internet on a regular basis, but I can’t imagine a flicker of emotion in his face if he accidentally stumbled across a page featuring a donkey with flatulence issues. You can’t please all the people all the time, but you can give it a good old fashioned go. And cheer up Grandad, it might never happen. Check out these cool examples below: