If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ve probably stumbled across a 404 Not Found error.

A 404 page appears when you follow a broken or dead link – it’s one of the most recognisable errors encountered online.

Error page design is often overlooked, but it’s crucial to get it right to avoid user frustration.

Put yourself in your user’s shoes. They’ve come to your website to find a solution to their problem, and a 404 error isn’t going to solve anything for them.

You need to make sure that the user stays on your site, rather than heading elsewhere.

Today, we’ve got some tips on how you can ensure your 404 is working for you, not against you.

Simple and easy to understand.

An error page needs to be clear and straightforward to understand.

The user has just hit a roadblock, so it needs to be obvious what the issue is and how they can get back to a working page.

Include a call to action.

An essential element of a 404 error page is a distinct call to action, whether this is linking them to a home page or offering them the chance to search their query.

Connect with your user emotionally.

We’ve spoken before on this blog about the importance of emotion in design.

By connecting with your audience, you can persuade them to stay on your site and learn more about your business.

Don’t forget about your brand.

Make sure your 404 error page looks the part and ties in with your branding.

That way, people will know they’re still on your site and won’t be tempted to exit and head elsewhere.

We love the idea of incorporating what your business is about into the theme of your 404 page.

Use humour.

If you can get away with it, use humour.

We wouldn’t recommend this approach if your business is corporate or deals with sensitive topics, but humour can work well for brands who don’t have to take themselves too seriously.

Make it relatable.

Error messages happen to the best of us, so making your messaging relatable and human can ease frustration and keep users on board.

Use illustration.

Let’s face it, 404 pages can be ugly. Illustrations give your website a personalised edge that helps your brand stand out and be memorable.

Take a look at our blog all about illustration in web design.

Include a video.

Adding movement to a 404 page can truly bring it to life.

We like the way this page has a video playing in the background to keep the error message on brand.


Want to know how your website could be improved? Get in touch with a member of our team today.

T: 01482 755 303 | E: hello@mattixdesign.com