How To Create a User-friendly 404 Error Page Design

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

Seeking ways to enhance your website's user experience and showcase your brand's personality? Pay attention to the graphic design of your 404 page. Although encountering a 404 error can be frustrating, it also presents an opportunity to engage, inform, and delight your visitors.

As a design studio with over five years of experience, we understand that even minor details significantly impact UX. That's why creating a compelling 404 error page design is worth the effort. With the right approach, it can showcase your brand's creativity and keep visitors engaged. Let's explore how to make the most of this often-overlooked aspect of web design.

Table of Contents

What Is a 404 Page?

A 404 page appears when a user tries to access a web page that does not exist on the server. When the server cannot locate the requested page, it returns a 404 error code to the user's browser, then displays a 404 page.

Why does the 404 Page Appear?

Before you design a 404 page, consider the possible scenarios when it can occur.

There are several reasons:

  • If the user types in the wrong URL or clicks on a broken link, they may be directed to a 404 page.

  • If a web page has been deleted or moved to a new location, the old URL may no longer be valid.

  • In a server or network error, it may be unable to deliver the requested page.

  • A website undergoes a redesign or restructuring, and some pages may be moved to a new location, resulting in broken links.

  • Permissions or configurations for a web page or its associated files are incorrect, and the server may be unable to deliver the page.

  • A malware or hacking attack has deleted or moved a web page.

Note that while a 404 error can be frustrating for users, it is a commonplace event on the web. Website owners can minimize the number of 404 errors on their site by regularly checking for broken links, updating site content, and ensuring that all URLs are correctly formatted and linked.


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Why 404?

The number 404 is simply an error code assigned to this specific error by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) when they standardized the HTTP protocol.

404 did not stand for any other HTTP error code at that time, and it was easy to remember. Additionally, 404 has become widely recognized as the error code for a missing web page. It is now commonly used in popular culture and everyday language to refer to any lost item.

While the number has no special significance, the 404 error message is essential to the web browsing experience.

Helpful Tips to Design a 404 Page

By following these points, you can create a 404 page that helps your users easily navigate your website and keeps them engaged with your brand.

Provide users with helpful and relevant information 

It could include a clear message explaining what has happened and why the page is unavailable. You can also provide navigation options that direct users to related content on your website or homepage. 

Use animation

It can be a great way to capture the user's attention and make the page more engaging. Add animated characters or graphics to your 404 error page design.

Include a call to action 

For example, you could encourage users to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on social media, or check out your latest products or services. By providing users with a clear and actionable next step, you can encourage them to continue exploring your website.

Showcase your brand's identity and tone 

A unique and memorable error page serves as an opportunity to strengthen the brand's identity and personality. By incorporating the brand's logo, color scheme, and tone of voice, you can make the error page feel like an extension of the website and reinforce the brand's values and character. 

Use humor 

Humor is a great way to lighten the mood and make users feel at ease when encountering an error. Incorporating funny images, memes, or witty text can create an enjoyable experience.

Be creative with the layout 

A non-traditional layout can make the design 404 page stand out and create a memorable UX. Try to integrate unusual shapes or structures that differ from the rest of your website.

Make it interactive 

Interactive elements can keep users engaged. Include games, quizzes, or surveys on your 404 page create a more memorable experience.

Offer a reward 

It can be a discount code, a free resource, or a fun surprise for users who encounter the page. Rewarding users for meeting a 404 error can help to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Great Error Pages Examples

Based on our experience and the points written above, we want to show you some interesting 404 page design ideas:


Rather than simply displaying a generic error message, Marvel has added their signature touch to their 404 page by referencing their movies. It helps maintain their brand and style and serves as an easter egg for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


The 404 page on TripAdvisor incorporates various elements that we previously discussed, including animation, helpful links, and a search bar. Although the messaging is simple, it effectively redirects focus toward the company's objectives.


Rather than redirecting to the homepage, Dribbble's 404 page encourages users to browse design work based on color. This clever use of the 404 page reinforces the company's brand identity as a platform for designers and encourages visitors to explore the site further.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, designing a 404 page can seem like a small and insignificant task, but it can significantly impact your website's user experience. Сreating a thoughtful and user-friendly 404 page can make visitors feel more comfortable and confident when navigating your site. Overall, the key is to make your 404 page UI design memorable, engaging, and enjoyable while providing users with the information they need to continue browsing.

At Arounda, we provide thoughtful UX and pay due attention to the 404 pages on the websites we create. Contact us if you want to improve overall user satisfaction by offering them an excellent experience.

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

Frequently asked questions

  • How to design a custom 404 page?

    Start by deciding on the design that aligns with your website's branding. Create a new HTML document and include a message notifying visitors that the page they're trying to access is unavailable. By paying attention to the details of your 404 page design HTML elements, you can transform a frustrating error message into an engaging UX.

  • Do we need to have a 404 page?

    A 404 page on your website is necessary because it provides an informative message that the requested page is unavailable. A well-designed 404 page can help retain visitors and reduce bounce rates, contributing to your search engine page ranking.

  • Why are custom 404 pages a good idea?

    Custom 404 pages are beneficial as they improve the UX by providing helpful information and guidance on how to proceed, reinforce branding by matching the look and feel of the website, assist with navigation by including links to other pages, and help with SEO by preventing duplicate content issues.

  • What should a 404 page include?

    An incredible 404-page UI design should include information that lets the user know that the page is unavailable and provides suggestions for what they can do next. It can be searching for the desired content, returning to the homepage, or contacting customer support. The page should align with the website's branding and design and include links to other relevant pages to help the user continue browsing.

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