Most internauts will generally agree that “404 error” pages are not something they want to stumble upon too often. Even more users will probably agree that these webpages are boring. So why not put them to good use?
Missing Children Europe (MCE) has teamed up with Child Focus to launch a new project called NotFound. They urge all webmasters to replace their classic 404 error pages with missing children messages.
“The idea of integrating missing person messages into 404 pages immediately seemed very interesting to us. We are always looking for new communication channels to distribute missing children messages and increase the chances to bring them home,” Francis Herbert, secretary-general of MCE, explained.
Laurent Dochy, responsible for creating the NotFound project and digital concept artist at Famous, calls the 404 page a “cornerstone of the Internet culture.”
He highlights the fact that many companies have already customized theirs and now they have the opportunity to give these webpages a reason to exist.
“This project will allow us to once again concentrate the attention on children whom we haven't heard of for many years,” Maryse Roland, spokeswoman for Child Focus, said.
“These children risk to fall into oblivion. The choice of the shown missing persons message on the 404 page will be at random: it could be a recent disappearance, or on the contrary, a child that has been missing for a long time.”
There are already a number of 687 sites involved in the project, including the ones of companies such as RTL, Kapaza, 2dehands, 2ememain, Concentra, Roularta, De Persgroep, Corelio, VMMA, Q-Group, FM Brussel, and SBS Belgium.
Those who want to participate must download a module available on notfound.org and install it onto their own sites. Once the application is installed, the boring pages are automatically replaced with messages that could save lives.