The Power of 404

404 sounds like it is tough on grease, kills 99.9% of common household bacteria, is non-toxic and chlorine free with no residue. But in fact what I mean by the power of 404 is how to set free the untapped potential of broken links and mistyped URLs. Yes, you read me correctly, we are going to turn those error frowns upside down.

What happens when you go to a website and click on a broken link is, you embark on a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a file that does not exist. A 404 error, is the lone error message on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, and the powerless, in a world of broken links who operate to make people leave your website.

This simple 404 error that usually returns a message to the user informing them that the page cannot be found, can be so much more useful. A typical 404 file is barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to build useful 404s. Better than they were before. Better, stronger, faster, able to apologize for the missing file, but also to give the user new options and different ways to get what they were looking for. Even just adding a simple sitemap, makes the simple 404 a much more user friendly and useful tool.

Here endeth the website usability tip of the day.

Remember don’t be too proud of the new technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to upload video while simultaneously contacting your high school friend’s hamster is insignificant next to the power of the 404th.