NTEN's 404 hamster is hard at work trying to find your missing page.
September 6, 2018

Never miss a chance to make your members fall in love

As technology users ourselves, we know that it’s not just during the high times that you need to feel the love but also the lows. So when it came time to refresh our broken link pages, we jumped at the opportunity to show our personality and lift the visitor at a moment that could be upsetting. They say: Thank you for visiting, I’m sorry you didn’t find what you’re looking for, and here’s a little joy for your day.

For years, NTEN has used an illustration of a hamster spinning in a wheel to show broken links. It was a great opportunity to show our personality while also offering the option for visitors to search for what they needed. However, now that we’ve added lots more content with an expiration date – ads on our jobs board, for example – we needed to diversify our broken link images to communicate different messages. And, of course, we had to make it adorable – because we’re NTEN.

NTEN’s old broken link image was a hamster spinning in a wheel.

A tiny lift for the greatest of joys

Previously, when a visitor clicked on a broken link to a job posting, they were served a broken link page that looked just like all our others. We realized that we were missing the opportunity to engage the jobseeker further by customizing that broken link page with links to other jobs.

A similar situation would occur when someone came looking for a defunct link to a blog post. If we could engage them with other related options, we get the chance to keep them interested and hopefully, help them find what they are looking for.

And, of course, we also needed an updated broken link illustration for the rest of the site.

Still working on it: NTEN’s new 404 hamster.

We engaged a designer at VaVa Virtual to create a character based on the now-familiar hamster illustration that could convey those three messages and include related content, while also making our visitors smile. The pages were created and segmented by our Web Development Manager Dan Fellini. Because every connection is an opportunity to show a little of ourselves and make sure that our visitors feel the love.

It’s the little things

If you’ve spent a bit of time with NTEN – thank you, longtime members! – you will know that personality is at the heart of everything we do. Our staff are always looking for ways to show you who we are, even in places you won’t expect it.

Dan recently rewrote our cookies code so we could offer you the best experience and maintain our compliance with relevant statutes. There, at the head of the code, are the usual signals that identify who wrote it, plus an ASCII Cookie Monster. Dan included it because he knows that one day, a developer will be looking at his code to see how it works, and that Cookie Monster will bring a little joy to that person’s day.

NTEN Web Development Manager Dan Fellini added an ASCII cookie monster to NTEN’s cookie code.

Help us name our 404 hamster

We are currently looking for a name for our 404 hamster friend. Tweet us at @ntenorg with your suggestions and we will choose two suggestions at random to get a free year’s worth of individual NTEN membership. Who has a name for this little squeaker? We’re all (tiny) ears.

Lyndal Frazier-Cairns
Lyndal Frazier-Cairns runs No Pants Consulting, which provides digital marketing solutions for nonprofits and small businesses.