404s gone to the dogs

Thanks to clever developers 404 pages are mostly a thing of the past, however a few still do slip through, especially on huge sites such as Amazon’s.

So what better way to handle them than to use gentle humour to ease potential customer dissatisfaction.

Effective 404 pages should communicate why a particular page couldn’t be displayed, and what users can do next.

Dog of Amazon

The best error pages don’t overwhelm users with choice, but simply indicate that something has gone wrong and then give clear options for what can be done from here.

Amazon keeps it simple: “Sorry. We couldn’t find that page. Try searching or go to Amazon’s home page”, and includes a link and a search box to make it super easy for users to take action.

It’s important for businesses to understand that it’s frustrating for your customers to land on a 404 page so if you do use humour it needs to be carefully thought through. 

Take the opportunity to build your brand

The success of the Dogs of Amazon campaign is evident in its longevity -  it’s been going for the best part of a decade, and piggybacks off a larger real-world program that includes over 2,000 dogs - 30% of whom show up to work on any given day.

The program says a lot about Amazon culture and promotes it as a really cool place to work. Cleverly, they even manage to squeeze in a link on the 404 page - “Meet the dogs of Amazon”  - to another page with career options and employee pages at the bottom, turning the 404 page into a sort of marketing and recruitment page. Very clever and economical. 

If you need a hand with dead links on your website or how to best build your brand's profile, give Red Cloud a call or drop us an email. We’d love to help!