We Rabbits are notorious perfectionists.
When we build a website, we account for every little detail: from the wireframes to Stop, Drop, and Scroll, we believe that no site is complete without the crossing of t’s and dotting of each and every i. In many outside cases, however, we feel that a lot of sites are lacking one fun, albeit optional, tiny detail: designed and engaging 404 pages.
For this month’s Down the Rabbit Hole recall, we wanted to take a look at one site where all the details were fully (and beautifully) accounted for, including an awesome 404 page. Read on for the full project story!
MIT Recreation: Where Academics Get Athletic
To put it simply, we loved working with MIT Recreation. Their team of fun-loving and engaging professionals made the whole process streamlined and enjoyable. With MIT Rec, we wanted to make sure that the whole site reflected the old-new aesthetic of the facilities. To accomplish this, we sent in a photographer to do a huge photoshoot that captured many facets of the MIT Rec experience. The photoshoot gifted us with a huge range of imagery options, from college students dunking to children taking their first swim lessons in the Olympic-sized pool.
The site itself had to accomplish a number of goals. The highest priority was given to showcasing the depth and availability of MIT Rec’s class options, as well as membership choices, schedules, and athletic programs. From an aesthetic perspective, we also wanted to communicate the dynamism and energy of the facilities, so we incorporated a kinetic-looking design over many image elements of the site. We gave their team several options for modules on their homepage and interior pages, allowing them to call out events, promotions, and featured classes wherever and whenever needed.
We love how the site turned out — take a look, and maybe sign up for a class if you’re in the area!
The Finishing Touch
We wrapped up the imagery and copy, SDS’d the site, and received near-final client approval — and then we decided the ample photography and brand temperament were basically begging for a fun 404 page!
404 pages internet-wide run the gamut from fun and silly to plain and run-of-the-mill. For many sites, the latter makes sense — if your realm of business tends towards seriousness over whimsy, or if your site is strictly information-driven, an amusing 404 page probably isn’t for you (and that’s okay!). But for MIT Rec, we felt like some silliness would be a perfect fit.
We brainstormed several options, and ultimately decided to go with a sports theme in conjunction with a rotating set of thematic photos. We also wanted to make sure it was easy for the user to navigate back home, so we added a call-to-action button. Finally, the images are beautiful, and we wanted to make sure that they were featured prominently.
Check out two of our final 404 pages here:
Long story short, we believe in the details! We always want to make sure that the website accurately represents the brand and the personality of the client. MIT Recreation is just one of many examples where we’ve thought outside the box to bring something unique to the table.
PS: Bonus personal favorite 404 (from Bay State Milling) here!