Creating 404 pages may not be at the top of your list when designing a website, but the best ones work to convey brand identity and keep visitors entertained.
Of course, you ideally don’t want users to see a 404 page at all, but you can turn the situation to your advantage with a bit of thought and use those error pages as ambassadors for your brand.
Having a custom (and creative) 404 page is a discovery for your visitors. It clears up the unfortunate situation and can point the user to a place where they can get some help.
Best 404 Page Examples
Lego keeps it light using a large image of a Lego man along with the quip “Sorry we can’t find that page! Don’t worry, though everything is STILL AWESOME!” which is a reference to a song from the Lego Movie. They also offer a link to their shop to keep users on-site.
The Concept here resonates with the name of the website which is FlippingBook. This 404 error page tells you a story of a married couple that lost a page from a book in a chaotic household. Reminds you of a ‘Marley and Me’ kind of situation.
Pixar fans will no doubt resonate with this heartwarming 404 page. Featuring a character from the much-loved movie, Inside Out, it helps strengthen their brand reputation and build a bond with their site visitors. The use of colloquial language and a familiar character also make the page feel more human, helping us relate and connect.
With Airbnb you can’t help but feel bad for an animated girl who drops her ice cream. You don’t want to leave right away, that wouldn’t be nice! Instead, why not click on a help link instead?
5. Help Scout
Help Scout provides companies providing tools for help desk software, email-based customer support, and online knowledge bases. Their 404 page offers links to their blog and other posts, but they use a cute graphic of cute dogs to keep people smiling.
Disney knocks it out of the park with their 404 pages by highlighting one of the most popular characters known for destruction – Wreck-it Ralph. They also feature KnowsMore, a side character in Ralph Breaks The Internet.
Distraction isn’t always a bad thing. Social network Dribbble’s error page proves just that. The fun, the interactive design invites visitors to play, while momentarily taking their attention away from the fact that they didn’t reach their desired web page.
Slack’s 404-page content is straight to the point, but they added a panorama illustrated background animation that is. You land in a dream-like world with hovering farm animals.
Zillow utilizes customer data to see that its users are pet lovers. And, to keep those pet lovers engaged, they created this interactive cat that adds a little chuckle at the end when it breaks something in the living room.
Distilled’s 404 page has a comic British conversation filled with phrases like ‘old chap’ and ‘blasted’. They call their 404 ‘Four hundred and fourth message of error’, which is funny in itself.
Every good UX designer recognises that while you focus on solving the biggest problems a user has first, you need to accommodate when they go off script too.
That’s why the humble folks at carwow created an awesome 404 page featuring a car racing game for when pages don’t load as planned.
We’ve seen a variety of funny 404 pages. Being humorous is not an easy task, and even the best brands with the highest budgets sometimes fail at it. I hope these examples will inspire you to create your own error pages that will make your visitors burst into laughter.