Finding a 404 page is a frustrating experience for website visitors. It is a standard HTTP message code that describes an error; in this case, the page either does not exist or disappears. While it is common, finding this page when looking for specific information can cause frustration and a negative impression toward the website.
One way to alleviate negative user experience is making a creative 404 page. Forget the standard message over a blank, uninspired background. Here are 11 examples of creative 404 pages that you can use as inspirations to spice up your website.
KonMari’s Thematic Message
The official website of KonMari, Mari Kondo’s famous decluttering method, makes use of her cleaning philosophy for the 404 page. Despite the simple design (a bright background and a picture of Kondo), the message says, “let go of the page in gratitude,” mimicking Kondo’s tidying up philosophy in a humorous way.
You can use this style if your website has specific philosophy or catchphrase that visitors see continuously, forming a specific image in their minds. This unique message will go in line with your website’s theme.
If your website has unique character designs, you can involve them on the 404 page. This method has been used by companies like Pixar and Marvel. Pixar recently used the image of Sadness, one of the iconic characters from its successful animated movie Inside Out, which is thematically accurate for the negative emotion visitors might experience when seeing the message.
Marvel makes use of its abundant characters by incorporating them into the 404 page. Visitors might get different characters every time they encounter this page.
Omlet’s Humorous Puns
Livestreaming and mobile gaming online community Omlet uses humorous puns in the texts and images for its 404 page. It simply uses an image of large cracks across the page in bold red, representing the cracked egg. It also replaced the word “page extinct” with “page eggstinct”, playing up the egg-related puns in a simple but effective way.
Making puns is not an easy task, especially if you want to make the visitors laugh instead of groan. If you want to use these words and images as an error page, make sure to spend some time planning your words.
MailChimp’s Whimsical Doodle
Despite being an important email management tool, MailChimp has built its brand around unique, cute, and almost whimsical illustrations. Its 404 page features a picture of a donkey burying its head in the sand. The image is hilarious, in line with the company’s thematic design, and it makes the simple error message page look more interesting.
If your website uses a specific style of illustration, you can use this method to create a 404 page. Alternatively, choose one image from the vector illustration template you download to adorn your website.
Movie Quotes by IMDb
Everyone knows IMDb as a movie resource for rates, cast info, and synopsis. The website took advantage of this by using movie quotes as their 404 page. The design is simple, consisting of texts and a combination of the website’s color palette. However, the slightly modified movie quotes would at least invite a smile or chuckle.
The best thing about this message? Each visitor may get different messages. IMDb may use very standard visual designs for the page, but its creativity elevates the messages, turn them into fun guesses whenever visitors tap on a page that does not exist.
Thematic Messages by TripAdvisor
One thing you could expect from TripAdvisor is its thematic 404 page, given the website’s main function. The concept is simple but effective; each 404 page is accompanied by remarks with travel-related phrases or words. For example, one message says that the only thing missing is “the page, not luggage.” Another mentions the error page as “the 404th wonder of the world.”
Using thematic remarks is the easier option to create unique and notable speeches, but still with connection to the website theme. You can also insert a simple but colorful image to attract attention, like what TripAdvisor does with its colorful luggage image on the error page.
GymBox’s Quirky Video Page
Sometimes, you can just let images do the speak. In this case, gym chain GymBox chose a creative video image to be inserted on the 404 page. It uses a video of 80’s aerobic routine, played in loop as transparent background. It is simple but conveying the message better.
A 404 page should not be blank or boring. Learn from the experts above and start composing your own error page design to give visitors more positive feelings.