We are reading an interesting story and oops! Suddenly, realize that a page is missing. How will that be? That is the 404 error, which says page not found. 404 is a default page, which is displayed when the website cannot find what we are asking for. This can be found in small websites and big websites too. For example, let's take our hero Pupu who comes from a family of errors. He steps into a circular room and searches for a corner. Is it possible to find a corner in a room which is circular in shape? Our energetic hero goes around and around and becomes breathless. That is why we need our best friend 404. It always pops up when something is not found and saves time and energy.
1. When something goes wrong with the website that we are browsing, it shows up.
2. When the user's browser cannot load the file, voila! The hero appears.
3. When the website is broken, it is our dear friend who pops up and informs the visitors that the server is down.
4. When the web page address (URL) has changed, when the link is not spelled right, when the page has been deleted, when the site may be offline or taken down for maintenance, when the page has been moved, etc., it is always the 404 error page which sparks on the screen.
The web page developers, when creating the 404 error page, create a template with a blank background. How will it be to find a blank web page when we are searching for the latest juicy details of our favorite actor? Won't that be disappointing? The best way would be to design it in such a way so as to display the related information over the regular web page's user interface or theme. This helps in ensuring that the visitor is included in the site and show that things have not gone completely bad. For example, we can say instead of a blank screen “Oops, the page you are looking for is not here. Perhaps you can return to our actor's homepage and see if you can find what you are looking for. Alternatively, you can use the menus above, or you can try finding it with the information below”. Moreover, a blank background with a 404 web page not found error would be a slap in the visitor's face. Do we want to be harsh with our viewers? No way!!!!! That's why we need to give more importance to the 404 error and make it user-friendly.
There are websites where the developers try their level best to amuse and entertain the visitors so that they don't get bugged off, and they do continue experiencing the other pages of their website. This is like an opportunity building, and nobody knows when an opportunity would knock the door, especially, when the opening screen of the website has an error message, the creator should be very careful with this kind of a situation.
“First impression is the best impression”. If the error message is not user-friendly, it is like a dead end road, and the visitor would opt out visiting the site again. A clear message in a very attractive way can be sent to the viewer so that they would enjoy navigating and exploring the other areas of the website.
But what's wrong in getting an error message. Don't we learn from our errors? As Renny Gleeson says “Every error is a chance to build a better relationship”, as we learn so much from our mistakes.
To conclude, user-friendly good 404 error page leads to an excellent user experience. If the error pages are created with love, they transform the marketing to create a better-humanized world where the companies always value their customers and build strong relationships with them.