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404 error messages

From: Brian Kelly <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 19:31:02 +0100
Message-ID: <028f01beac5c$e704c210$3c92268a@bath.ac.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I've recently looked at 404 error messages generated by UK University
websites.  Many websites don't have any tailored messages, leaving it to the
browser to display a message.  Some seem to have helpful messages,
containing helpful advice, navigational links around the website, embedded
search boxes, error reporting forms, confirmation of invalid URL. etc.  Many
of these issues will no doubt be particularly important to people with
disabilities.

I intend to write an article giving advice on good design of 404 error
messages.  Are there any particular needs which the WAI community feel
should be covered (I'm assuming that 404 messages will conform to the Web
Content guidelines)?  Can anyone provide good examples of 404 error
messages?

Good example (I think) can be found at:

http://www.keele.ac.uk/foo.html
http://www.dmu.ac.uk/foo.html
http://www.brookes.ac.uk/foo.html

Any comments on these?

Thanks

Brian Kelly
------------------------------------------------------
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus
UKOLN, University of Bath, BATH, England, BA2 7AY
Email:  b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk     URL:    http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
Homepage: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/b.kelly.html
Phone:  01225 323943            FAX:   01225 826838
Received on Tuesday, 1 June 1999 14:33:21 GMT

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