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Re: correcting URIs - was User friendly 404s reconsidered

From: Jesper Tverskov <jesper@tverskov.dk>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 23:23:59 +0200
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002201c6ac42$d0d05110$b241d458@bravo>
An URL not found should return an error message and status code 404. It
makes it possible to test for broken links and to combat link-rot or keeping
it at a tolerable level. Consistency is important both for usability and
accessibility. Don't misuse markup, don't misuse basic principles of the


We should work for a more transparent and honest net respecting people.
Don't tamper with my browser opening new windows without asking. Don't
rewrite my URLs behind my back sending me in another direction without
asking, et cetera. 


A website is welcome to include a list of near matches in the 404 error
message asking the user: "Is this what you are looking for". No problem.


I find it overkill most of the time, I don't recommend it as a general
approach, I would even warn against it as a waste of time in most cases.
Better put focus on making a good simple error message. Even this is not
well-done most of the time. But some websites are welcome to try it out. It
would probably work fine for some websites and cold even be worth the
trouble in some cases.


But a 404 error should never redirect to the homepage or to any other page
without asking the user, hiding the fact that the original URL had a


Best regards,


Jesper Tverskov





Received on Thursday, 20 July 2006 21:24:08 UTC

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