Most users found error 404 page, will try as soon as possible to close it and forget. In order not to lose so its visitors, it is necessary to create for this error unique solution.
Let’s try to look at the problem from the point of view of the user. When users encounter a 404 error, the first question that comes to their minds: what do I do next? If you don’t find a way to keep them, they will likely leave the site. Obviously, it makes sense to change the standard 404 page.
What we as designers must consider and take in creating a 404 page:
Maximum information about the alleged page can be extracted from the referrer and the requested wrong url:
- Defining the requested category, it is necessary to show a list of popular products or articles of this column;
- To issue special deals, promotions, action buttons, etc.
- Finally, make a special offer to the user (“sorry, the requested product we have. We apologize and give you a discount when purchasing similar products…”).
It is extremely important to ensure that users were satisfied. And in addition to these tips are more General recommendations for 404 pages:
- Be useful and provide references to potential matches. If users were not found on the page, they’re probably looking for something. So help them to find it. Place on the page menu or links to recently moved the page. Or why not provide links to the most popular pages on Your site? Or at the very new and relevant content. Anyway, users should be no more than one click away from switching to any other page of the site. And, of course, always give a link to the main page.
- Provide a way to send an error report. The user should always be able to send you the error message, if he will. This will help You to learn about any internal defects of the site. An even better solution for tracking issues on the website will be automatically notified. And if there is a sudden surge 404’s errors will be useful instant notification. This will fix the problem in real time while it is still relevant.
- Be kind with your visitors. They reached this page is not their fault. Try to Express your regret and willingness to help.
- Add a search string. In order not to lose its visitors, allow them to find what they were looking for, being on the error page.
- Not to go into the technical details. The term “error 404” in itself sufficient technical and at the same time clear to most users. There is no need to scare away visitors any other specific information about the causes of this error. In fact, don’t need to use numbers “404”, just to explain the essence of the problem.
- The 404 error page must not look like a regular page. Your visitors should clearly see that the page was not found and does not contain any content. So don’t fill her too much text, and links.
- Adhere to a single style of the website. Design 404 page design, and feelings should be designed in a style of Your brand, so users don’t have any delusions that they had got to the other site.
- A small portion of humor never hurts. Quite often 404 page is for designers and developers a platform to Express their creative and humorous ideas. Instead users quickly closed the missing page, it is better to keep them from closing the site, engaging, funny and inventive performed by page.
A large set of 404 pages you can find here: http://fab404.com/
Besides theoretical data I have prepared a prototype in Axure which contains a 404 page with all the above rules and tips. Use it!
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