UX/UI: a 404 Page that Helps Your Business

This quote from David Bowie pretty much sums up the way all life should be:

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

And it pretty much sums up the way a website should be, too, e.g., if someone comes for a visit and they don’t know what to do – or they go to a page with a 404 error – at least make the visit an adventure.

UX UI 404 Page created for a visitor to have an adventure when visiting a website
Copyright © 2020  Sarah Gilbert Fox All rights reserved

It’s astonishing how much people ignore their 404 page. Someone has come to a website for a reason. Not to find a 404 Error – basically an “out of order” sign. That’s an invitation for them to leave. [Or worse, they get some notice from their browser asking if they are sure the site they are visiting is safe]. Not what you want.

As I was researching a coding issue today, I kept running into these 404 dead ends. And it made me realize that it was time to update my 404 page.

But what should I do? Since my mind had been on coding, I decided to decode the Tweets of my kid and her friends.

  • trigger warning: fake fenty
  • disguised in a bragplain.
  • learning simlish
  • gonna be a mewd
  • chonk GOAT
  • sploot lookin kinda sus
  • vibe kip kip
  • Pree dis kk
  • Im uwu mewd ama

Ack, never mind.  Instead, I took the ones I understood and added them into my 404 graphic. If I was going to update, I was going to add updated jargon.  In went “wack,” “i’m baby,” “sus,” “af,” “oof,” “mewd”.  And for safe measure, I added two bits of dialogue my husband had asked earlier today: “Where’s the car?” and “Who fed the cat?” (Let’s not ignore the Baby Boomers, right?)So now the page looked more interesting – newer – more refreshed.

But I didn’t stop there. My aim wasn’t just to catch a visitor’s eye. My aim was to give them somewhere to go after their eye was caught!

So I added the following alternative links for people to click on.

That – my friend – is giving the user an experience, as opposed to a “get lost” sign.

On the admin end – the UI end – I tweaked all the good page components, e.g., checked to make sure it worked on all devices, adjusted my minimum time load, made sure it was fully responsive, mobile friendly, etc.And, instead of adding a whopping huge page loading image directly from my media library, I added my image by redirecting it from an external source.

If you would like an original, UX 404 graphic that works for your business, please send me an email.

By Sarah Gilbert Fox

Published novelist and artist.