Benefits of conformance
- Consistent, quality experience for users of the site.
- Increased site credibility and levels of user trust.
Risks of non-conformance
- Possible increase in offline channel requests for inexplicably removed information.
- Reduced site credibility and levels of user trust.
When a resource has been removed/deleted (permanently unavailable) or it is only temporarily unavailable, it is important to avoid presenting the user with the File Not Found (404) status.
In a well-maintained information architecture, the File Not Found (404) status would only be required when the user enters a URL that never existed (example: due to an input error, or a failed URL guess). Even then, you may be able to provide a more helpful response (see Error conditions section in the implementation advice for more discussion).