It kind of says something about how frequently things break that everyone knows what the number 404 means. If you see that, the website you’re on has broken, and it’s up to you to pick up the pieces. So deeply ingrained in our collective conscious is the idea that 404 means something is missing that the BBC reported it had become London slang for “clueless” back in 2008.
As a broken link is an inevitable part of owning a website, it’s perhaps unsurprising that people try to jazz them up. The latest we’ve seen is from web-hosting company Kualo, who will encourage you to stick around for a game of Space Invaders before you try to retrace your steps.
It’s not the first website to play a game with the lost. Blue Fountain – a creative agency – invites you to play Pac-Man if you’re lost, which seems appropriate, given Pac-Man is forever trapped in his maze.
But whose fault is it that you ended up trapped in that maze in the first place? Design company Magnt tries to apportion the blame in the most sensible way possible – a beautifully drawn Venn diagram:
Others take the “mea culpa” path, such as SEO company White Spark. Well, specifically “Brent culpa”. It’s Brent’s fault, and his fate is up to you.
SPOILER: He doesn’t take his dismissal well.
Others are true to their site themes. Like the Internet Movie Database, which finds an appropriate film quote to match your disappointment (it changes with each refresh):
The Dilbert site, meanwhile, has a whole secret three-panel comic that’s only shown to people who manage to find a dead link.
Finally, given it’s election season in the UK, we couldn’t forget the Liberal Democrats, even if most of the voting public did last time around (the who? –Ed). Their 404 page is regularly updated to take a dig at their adversaries in Labour, UKIP and the Conservative parties. At the moment, this is what it looks like:
So there you have it, there’s no reason not to entertain people to distract them from the fact that your website’s broken.