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May 16th, 2002

The Best Error Page

Admittedly, one of the things that bugs me about the web is the bad error page. When a user makes a mistake or a typo, she shouldn’t feel lost or alienated. In fact, one of the things I mention to my students is that some new users think they’ve broken their computer somehow when they receive a web error. It’s true.

We’ve discussed wacky 404s before, but I’ve found some of the best over at Design Not Found. It’s a site from the folks at 37signals; devoted to contingency design, it covers what happens when something goes wrong. In some cases, it’s a missing file; in others, it’s a missing bit of information.

I feel that the best error page is one that totally holds the user’s hand – and assures her that it’s all right. While good error pages aren’t integral to the web, they certainly make things better.

Posted in Technology

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