Memefy your 404’s

I disable Flash in my “work” browser (Chrome) for lots of reasons, but primarily: Flash is a performance drain on websites and your browser It’s NOT the future of the web and I like to see which sites know that already and already bake in alternatives, and most flash-based things are purely for entertainment and… Read more Memefy your 404’s

I disable Flash in my “work” browser (Chrome) for lots of reasons, but primarily:

  1. Flash is a performance drain on websites and your browser
  2. It’s NOT the future of the web and I like to see which sites know that already and already bake in alternatives, and
  3. most flash-based things are purely for entertainment and I should be working (of course I know VERY well how to open Firefox for a good distraction).

With Flash disabled, I see all kinds of notifications about “Update your Flash Player!”, “Flash Player is not installed!”, or “This video requires Flash”. The first two always bother me, because they’re not true. The web developer just used some default notification about Flash without taking the time to write something valuable there (which I would be guilty of too if I ever used Flash in my clients sites — which I don’t).

But recently, I ran across the best “Flash is not installed” notification ever:

angry-cat-no-flash

This is from Buzzfeed.com. They are notoriously funny, irreverent, and yet spot on with the whole social media and web development scene. This Flash notification is the way to do it. I still think they could mix-up the message a little, like they should be able to know the difference between whether it’s a “Platform” issue or just a Flash issue. Still, at this point, I don’t care. I know that I can’t watch their video because of Flash, and I got a laugh out of it.

Memefy Your Website

These kinds of details communicate ALOT to your website visitors. For one, it tells your viewers that you care about your website, and you take the time to look at the details. Second, it tells them that you care about THEIR experience. You can also communicate all kinds of fun things in subtle ways, like tell people what you think of Internet Explorer (check out “IE mode” at the bottom of this page, unless you don’t like toilet humor, then forget I said anything!).

Of course the message needs to fit with the general theme and “voice” of your website. The angry cat might not work for your website about raising awareness about global child poverty. That’s ok. You can still fill that space with something that is significant and created rather than just the default.

But, for those of you that can have a little fun with your 404 messages or “Flash Required” messages, then here’s a few tools:

Memegenerator.com This is basically the source for all the meme craziness. WARNING: Major time drain, but fun to browse through or create your own

Read up on the usefulness of properly designed and executed 404 pages, as well as see some awesome examples at Smashing Magazine.

Memefy your 404’s with My Handiwork!

Here’s a few 404 memes I just made up. I’ll be implementing them on my site soon.

1st World Problems 404

1st World Problems 404

Kyla’s Not Impressed with your 404

Kyla's Not Impressed with your 404

One Does Not Simply 404

One Does Not Simply 404

WordPress Resources

If you’re a developer or want to learn how to code your own 404 page, the Codex is your friend.

There’s a few plugins that’ll do the job too:

  • Custom 404 Error Page — this generates a 404 page using your theme, customize it to say whatever you like
  • True Google 404 — this adds a list of pages on your site that MAYBE the user meant to reach based on how they got to the 404 in the first place. Might as well make your 404 page useful as well as funny, right?

I’d love to hear from you if you have fun, creative, or really well designed 404 pages. Comment here, let us all take a gander.

12 thoughts on “Memefy your 404’s

  1. UPDATE: So this was one of those posts that was a reminder to myself to do something. So put more research into the WP 404 issue and ended up using a plugin from AskApache. Here it is: http://www.askapache.com/google-seo-wordpress-yaHOO-robots

    It has some really robust features and integrates with Google Analytics and all kinds of fun stuff. Their “Google’s Best Guess” feature didn’t really work for me, but perhaps they’ll have some updates later. Anyway, you can see the glorious 404 by just typing whatever you want into the addressbar after mattcromwell.com/ … Have fun!

  2. So, I’ve updated my theme design, but not my 404 page! Ack! So I came back to this post and saw all the hilarious comments, which reminded me of my all time favorite 404 image. Don’t know how I forgot this when I wrote this. I present: Homestar Runners 404’d!!

    http://homestarrunner.com/nothing

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