Everipedia is a wiki site that has a vision to become "a pillar of the Internet, by connecting people to information about anything and everything," its executive editor Romi Ezzo tells us. With its information-sharing purpose in mind, "We thought we could give people a much more relevant user experience by helping people learn about 404 errors if they ever came across one on our site," says Ezzo, who sent us this GIF to illustrate the 404 error page in action. Telling you everything you need to know about 404 pages, it's pretty meta, and totally in keeping with the site's aims.
The free ringtone-making service's 404 page features a beautifully rendered illustration of London, including the obligatory red bus and telephone box, as well as Big Ben's Tower, Sherlock Holmes and a hint of Tower Bridge. The site's worth a visit just for the brilliant artwork.
23. Bret Victor
Bret Victor's 404 page, inspired of course by René Magritte's iconic painting, The Treachery of Images, confronts the viewer with some challenging philosophical questions. If this is not a page, then what is it? What constitutes a 'page'? Is it a thing that can be truly said to exist? What is the 'this' that this apparent non-page is referring to? Is anything truly real? Makes you think, no?
Duoh is the collaborative partnership between illustrator Veerle Pieters and partner Geert Leyseele. Their business is based on strong design principles, so you'd expect a well-realised 404 page – and they don't disappoint. In characteristic bright colours and negative space, this page looks and feels in keeping with the rest of the site.
Link shortening service Bit.ly needs a special URL for its 404 page as bit.ly.com/404 has already been used as a shortened link. The page itself features a cute little creature bobbing up and down in an interactive sea, and responds to your mouse movements.
This letting agent website's 404 page features a strange interior shot with a sheep sitting on the lavatory. Creative and wacky at the same time, it's a great (if abstract) example of how to do it well.
Replacing the Escher-esque impossible box that adorned its 404 page for years, DropBox has gone for a similarly quirky illustration to represent things all going wrong – the wheels coming off, if you like. It's a nice, simple hand-drawn illustration that gets the message across well, with plenty of helpful navigation links for usibility.
The last thing you want to find when you're looking for love is that it can't be found, but eHarmony's 404 page softens the blow with the news that while the page you're after is unavailable, there are still about half a million fish left in the sea.
29. Walk with You
This simple illustrative design for a site promoting life coaching uses existing assets from the overall site design, including a waterfall, to convey the 404 message. Bold typography makes this page work well.
One of the best examples of a newspaper metaphor, Dave Barton's personal site manages to inject a little humour into its error message.
Starbucks, like Heinz, makes good use of its primary product to illustrate the 404 message. In this instance, the tell-tales signs of a missing coffee cup are used to tell the story.
Video game developer Blizzard takes an original approach to its 404 page that fits in with its general style, using broken glass as a metaphor for the broken link. What makes this example stand out is the clean design aesthetic beneath the glass.
The US's National Public Radio website's 404 page presents an amusing wiki-style list of missing people or things, from Amelia Earhart to your luggage.
The superb tips, tutorials and advice blog CSS-Tricks is loved by all in the web design community because despite its dry subject matter, it manages to exude enthusiasm, humour and personality. And this cheeky 404 page is an excellent example of that.
Magnt enables you to create a business card-themed web page in minutes. Its clever 404 page demonstrates the company's keen sense of wit with its Venn diagram showing the two main reasons why you've landed on the site’s error page: “we broke something” and “you can’t type.”. At the same time it also provides a clear call to action to take you where you need to go.