Some Hearty Routes to Enamour Your Audience
Shreya Sinha /
You might have heard the term “Easter Eggs.” I’m not talking about the painted eggs made on Easter but the jokes, messages, and special features hidden in different forms of media. It is essentially an undocumented feature meant for users to find.
While people have been adding easter eggs to media for years, the term was first coined when Warren Robinett, a program developer, added a hidden code in the game Adventure. This game was released on the Atari 2600 gaming system back in 1980. He left a note in the game stating he was the true creator after some disagreements with the company, which left him uncredited. A player found this and thus coined the term “Easter Egg.” The players enjoyed finding it so much that Atari decided to hide easter eggs in all their games moving forward.
Over time the concept of adding easter eggs expanded to different forms of media such as movies, books, music videos, apps, websites, etc. Users find joy in finding these hidden details, making their experience so much more fun.
At ZEUX, we have multiple easter eggs hidden all around the office. The artwork on the walls that may seem random to others have hidden jokes and meanings. It’s a nice feeling to know that we are the only people who know about this (and also the 100 others I have told about it because it really is an interesting fact.)
Easter eggs can be found in any media, from movies, books to interfaces! These are some popular examples over time:
Taylor Swift is known for hiding easter eggs in her music videos, posts, and tweets. It’s a game she plays with her fans where the fans (me) scramble to find all the clues she has left to hint at her upcoming music. While there are a million examples I could dive into, one of my favourites is the easter egg in the ‘ME!’ music video. After releasing her music video for the single ‘ME!’, she tweeted out saying the album name is hidden in the music video. After watching the music video four times – I found it. The neon billboard with the word ‘Lover’. Soon enough she tweeted saying it indeed is Lover.
The album name is depicted as a neon billboard in the music video – Lover.
If you know me, you know I love cats. Which is why the easter egg hidden in Splitwise easily makes it in the list of my favourite easter eggs. On the settings page, a link at the bottom says “P.S Kittens”. Clicking on it makes a cat pop up on the screen. You can keep clicking it and more and more kittens pop up on the page.
The orange cat looks like my cat so now you know why this easter egg makes me smile every time I come across it.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a novel written by Lewis Carrol. Lewis met a young girl named Alice Liddell. She was his photography subject. Once she asked Lewis to entertain her and her sisters with a story. He told them a story of a girl named Alice and her adventures when she fell into a rabbit hole that led to another world. He promised Alice that he would write about this story and send her the manuscript. He wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and then a sequel called Through the Looking Glass. In the final poem of this book, you can find the easter egg hidden by Lewis Carrol:
The first letter of each line spells out – Alice Pleasance Liddel, the girl who inspired Lewis to write this book. Something about ending his book by subtly mentioning the girl who inspired these books is delightful.
Movie directors tend to hide many easter eggs and clues in their movies. The easter egg can be about another film by the same director, an inside joke or can even foreshadow an event that is going to happen later in the movie. I know the first rule of Fight club, and I’m sorry for breaking it, but I HAVE to include this.
Fight club is a cult classic and one of the things fans love to do is count the number of Starbucks cups there are in the movie. Why Starbucks cups? The movie has a very anti-consumerism narrative. The director, David Fincher, went to great lengths in hiding Starbucks cups in every scene. By hiding the Starbucks cups so seamlessly into the movie, Fincher highlights the movie’s point about consumerism.
What better to depict consumerism than Starbucks?
If you’re a 2000’s kid like me, Club Penguin was your childhood. Club penguin had 100s of Easter eggs – secret games inside games, secret rooms, secret items in their catalogues, etc. One easter egg that caught my eye is the secret Jelly bean counters game. Bean counters was a game on club penguin where your penguin had to catch bags of coffee beans. On the loading page, when you click on a small tear of the bean bag a bunch of jelly beans fall down. You can now play bean counters with a twist – Jelly bean counters! Your penguin has to catch Jelly bean bags instead of coffee bean bags.
Google has a ton of easter eggs, and some of them are very well-known. They go all out – google search “do a barrel roll,” and your whole page does a barrel roll, search “atari breakout” and a full-fledged game comes on to the screen. Google also has a ton of subtle easter eggs. When you search for “recursion”, the first line shows “Did you mean: recursion’’ – an excellent example of recursion.
Now that you have read about these examples, it’s time you add your own delightful surprises to your product. Here is the recipe to make the perfect easter egg:
#1 Find the goldilocks zone
Easter eggs are a surprise element for the user. It helps in making the user’s experience enjoyable. The user should stumble upon these; they should not be impossible to find. On the other hand, it should also be a challenge. Finding the perfect goldilocks zone for creating your own Easter egg is essential. It should be perfectly hidden for users to stumble across accidentally.
#2 Make it braggable
What’s the next best thing other than the feeling of stumbling upon an Easter egg? The fact that you get to brag about it to everyone you know! Finding an easter egg gives the users a sense of reward. The more unique and fun an easter egg is, the more rewarded users feel.
#3 Don’t change the product, enhance it
Treat easter eggs like a cherry on top and not the main product. Easter eggs are meant to enhance the product but should not change the way a product works. You want to keep the experience fun for the user, not confuse them with sudden changes. They should be seamlessly integrated into your product. An easter egg is not going to be the reason your product becomes successful or fails. A user who knows about the easter egg and a user who doesn’t should have the same experience with the product while they use it.
#4 Add a personal touch
The best part for the person creating the Easter egg is for the designer/developer to add a personal touch to their product. Now we know someone at Splitwise REALLY likes cats.
#5 Have fun with it
Easter eggs can be a great marketing technique but don’t forget they are just meant to be fun, so have fun with it! Think about what makes you giggle and go with it. Feel free to add your personal touch. Remember – the user needs to feel like they are sharing a joke with you and not being a part of a marketing strategy.
The best part about adding easter eggs to a product is that it’s fun for everyone involved – the designer and the user!
Also, did you find the easter egg hidden in this article?