Easter Eggs

The Easter Eggs project involved characterizing Easter eggs (hidden functionality or media) in non-game software user interfaces such as web browsers and office software. I conducted a qualitative, investigative analysis of 41 Easter eggs, using archival research and email-based interviews with developers. This project showed that software Easter eggs can provide significant value to developers and users, for example, by acting as an expressive outlet for developers, enabling recruitment of new developers, and teaching users transferable knowledge and skills.


Examples of Studied Easter Eggs

Grey dinosaur in desert landscape, rendered in pixel-art style.
Dinosaur jumping game that appears in Google Chrome when there is no internet connectivity.
Grid of small black-and-white images of people, pets, and mathematics-related objects.
The output from the “image” function in MATLAB contains these additional hidden images.
Screenshot of Microsoft Word’s user interface, showing a line-art version of Clippy in the background.
Clippy can be seen hiding in the background in one of Microsoft Office’s themes.