Monday, September 27, 2010

404 Error Pages... have you customised yours?

I generally recommend for client websites to include a customided 404 Error Page (page not found error alert) for users who mistype or arrive at a broken link. Best practice indicates that a redirect should be provided back to the website home page or site map. I believe that the custom error page has become quite a fashion statement and feature of discussion. Though you can set a meta refresh to redirect the user after a set period of time (20 seconds) to the home page, I prefer to include the site map or site search feature on this page for usability improvement to the users experience, that clearly indicates that they are presented with a page that indicates that they have come to this point as the page that they were trying doesn't exist, and here are some options to assist in getting to where you were going.

It is important to note the most common reasons that visitors to the website land on a 404 page:

• A mistyped website address or URL (or an out of date bookmark or favourite)
• A search engine link that is out of date
• An internal broken link that the webmaster or web developer is not aware of.