Sometimes You Want "Page Not Found"

by Tom Davis

Possibly the best 404 page ever.

Every website should have a custom 404 page. HTTP Status Code 404 is what happens when you request a page that the webserver cannot find. The default wording is something like "Error 404 - Page Not Found". In the life of a website pages come and go. It is nice if you can handle these changes with some finesse, but it is not always possible. The 404 page is the last resort in that case. So when The New Yorker magazine recently changed the URL of their cartoon page, I was pleasantly entertained by this cartoon.

As a website management best practice, The New Yorker website should have redirected me to the new location of the cartoon content. Technically this is done using a "301 redirect" which forwards me to the new page and tells Google that the old URL has permanently changed to the new URL. That would be important if they were worried about the search ranking for the cartoons they publish. Being The New Yorker, I am sure that they are supremely confident that people will find their cartoons.

By the way, the screenshot above is showing the tablet (portrait) view. The have a nice responsive design. Very fitting to the print version of the magazine.

And one last thing... they have very good "print styles". These are CSS style rules that govern how the page prints out. Unless you do a "print preview" you do not see the effects of these styles until the page prints. In the case of The New Yorker they isolate the article, add a nice header, hide the ads and navigation. Well done.