There is a tendency to undermine the importance of 404 pages. The website administrators and developers even do that at times. As a result, you may encounter “not found” pages that look bland or unrelated to the websites. In this page, we will discuss consistency in designing a “not found” page.
It is Important to Have Consistent Web Design
A common pitfall in web design is having inconsistent design. Many website managers focus on certain parts of their site and fail to consider the others. As people usually do not visit a “not found” page intentionally, the page often becomes a victim of inconsistency.
Why do people find consistent web design important? Consistent design is not only about having a similar look across all the pages in one website. It is also about improving the functionality of your website. A consistent website can enhance user experience in many ways.
Because the layouts are similar across pages, visitors do not need to learn new ways of navigating pages every time they click. They can do their tasks quicker and even be encouraged to delve more. Developers can also design the website more efficiently with the same template.
4 Tips to Implement Consistent Web Design
How to make your 404 pages appear consistent with the website? First of all, you need to understand that web design adheres to three types of consistency: visual (the look of the pages), functional (functions of buttons and locations), and internal (within the website itself). They seem simple, but the reality is far from it.
If you want to make those consistency components salient in the website, here are some interesting tips to implement them:
Repeating layout style in all of the pages
Website visitors do not want any fuss when accessing new pages on your website. Variations of layouts may be conceptually exciting, but in reality, the browsing process will not be streamlined. Because of that, developers are actually recommended to repeat layout style across their web pages.
Keeping branding elements similar
To further make the web design consistent, you should also keep branding elements similar in those pages. Font is something that people overlook too often in branding. When you visit a website’s 404 pages and see that they do not have similar typewriting as the other pages, you will think that you have been redirected to a different site.
Providing intuitive navigation
When users open the first page of your website, the navigation buttons should be readily available. It will encourage visitors to access the website even further. In creating an intuitive navigation, copywriting also has an important influence. The copy should not only deliver the right message, but also be interesting.
Fulfilling users expectations
In designing, creativity is always encouraged. However, there are certain boundaries that you would not want to cross as it may disappoint the website visitors. For example, links presented on the page should be clickable and scrolling enables the page to go up and down. Those are the unwritten rules in most websites and should be followed.
Using Similar Template for 404 Pages
As mentioned previously, you should consider using a similar template for your “not found” pages. It is easier to have a ready to use template. This method is not only for consistency. It also saves the time necessary for curating each page. You can design a “not found” page using a landing page template.
To make an interesting “not found” page, instead of the frustrating one, you might want to check the following guideline:
- Craft a copy that explains what might go wrong with the search. This will incite a sense of resolution for the visitors.
- Include a search box in the “not found” page so that users can find other information relevant to the current search.
- Provide a list of categories relevant to the user’s failed search.
- Promote featured posts on your website.
When trying to curate a landing page as a “not found” page, you should always think about the brand’s message. Some brands use copies with approachable tone (and even humor!) to make the page more attractive. It is also possible to include games on the page.
The 404 pages of a website are important for website development. It contains information needed to improve the website’s service. Crafting “not found” pages that are consistent with the rest of the website will improve your branding. Not only that, it encourages visitors to stay.