Easter eggs and why every product should have them

Thursday, July 11, 2013

1. Go to Youtube.com
2. Play any video you want
3. Pause it
4. type (keyboard) 1980
5. That's an easteregg!

Unlike those colorful eggs associates with the Easter bunny which we all know, when talking about Easter eggs in technology products they mean a hidden little secret that are undocumented and many time, no one except for the developer knows that they are included in the product, some may be considered as cheats.

Easter eggs go far into the past but let's take a look at Atari (which for most of this blog readers is way back).
Atari didn't allow developers to credit their names, so they hid it in places hard to get and which required a special navigation to get to.

Atari Easter Egg (hidden developer's name).

Even good old Google has more than a few Easter eggs, here's just a few for you to try:

  • Google the term: do a barrel roll.
  • Search for atari breakout on Google Images.
  • A geeky one would be to search for recursion and having Google ask: Did you mean "Recursion".
  • Google for "binary" and get the number of results in binary instead of decimal.
The developers of vogue, have included an Easter egg that by pressing a specific key combination, shows a raptor with a fashionable hat running at the bottom of the screen.
www.vogue.co.uk - try "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A"

You should definitely look for Easter eggs, one company hid a 1000$ bounty in their EULA (End user license agreement) - that thing which you always press "Yes, I read it", it was found only 7 years later (!!!).

An example from facebook who has its own Easter eggs:

Facebook has not skipped it's own Easter eggs - English Upside down.

Here is a mobile Easter egg found on safari browser on iPhone:

Speedtest.net's mobile app has an Easter egg dedicated to the cat which the company "Ookla" is named after:

So why does having Easter eggs in your product important?
First, it's a motivator for the developers.
This is the developer's unique footprint in the product that he is developing, all other stuff comes from the PM. It allows creativity and motivation to thrive and involves the important element of FUN.
Secondly, for the user of your product, finding these Easter eggs is (did we already mentioned) fun.
The element of discovery is amplified, and the satisfaction of finding one is so great as you find something most users have no idea of.

If you found any cool Easter eggs, please share them with the readers in the comments - Thanks!