Avelyne Flatiron Blog


May 21, 2019

404 pages

Technically they’re the most used page you’ll ever make as a web developer.

There is an infinite amount of possible links that lead to a 404 so it seems like it would be a good idea to make these as fun or useful as possible right?

Absolutely no one is gonna give you kudos for being “time-thrifty” and leaving your 404 with this ugly looking screen

awful 404

When a user goes to a link to a deleted or moved page they’ll see a 404 error page. They’ll also see it if they mistype a URL, or click on a broken link.

Sometimes links go bad, maybe someone on your team made a teeny weeny breaking change and now your mechanics index page has no content.

good 404

A 404 is an HTTP code meaning “not found”. And to be honest it’s not technically speaking used appropriately a lot of the time.

Most of the time a 404 is returned when a page has been moved or deleted. But I know what you’re about to say “But Sam! There already are error codes for page moved or page gone!” Namely these are 301 and 410, but they usually require special server configuration and I think we can let this one slip through the gaps.

great 404

Something quirky and lovely like this one made by a colleague of mine is enough to make your users think even more highly of what I’m sure is a fantastic web app so far.

chelton 404

And this is something that has definitely been picked up by a lot of the big names, classmates of mine in Flatiron may have noticed this BAMF while you were searching for labs back in Mod 1 (back when we thought we didn’t have enough work to do!)

great 404

Why not just throw in something pulpy? Your user is either lost or getting mad at your product, so is there really a better time than to show them that one gif that your boss said you couldn’t use in the project proper?

Because at the end of the day it’s something to remember that it doesn’t matter how well your product is tested, the userbase is only as smart as it’s dumbest member. And that one guy? He is more stupid than you can ever possibly imagine.

users suck

Oh finally one more thing,

In 2008, a study carried out by the telecommunications arm of the Royal Mail found that "404" became a slang synonym for "clueless" in the United Kingdom. Slang lexicographer Jonathon Green said that "404" as a slang term had been driven by the "influence of technology" and young people, but at the time, such usage was relatively confined to London and other urban areas.

Which frankly I never heard and am glad it was put to bed. 😂

Sam Barrie

Written by Sam Barrie who lives and works in London and studies at Birkbeck University and Flatiron School. Feel free to check him out on Linkedin or GitHub.