Flashback: You're 7 years old. It's Easter. You're at your Grandparents' house. They've given you an empty basket and a simple mission: collect as many brightly colored eggs as possible. You look around and there, just a few yards away, you spy a sliver of pink sticking out of a clump of grass. You reach down and grab it, but before placing it in your basket, you admire the color and pattern. This is the very definition of delight. This made the experience memorable for a lifetime.
So, what does this have to do with branding and web design? Simple: delight is not relegated to children. People of all ages and walks of life, including your target website visitors, are capable of experiencing delight. And unlike your childhood Easter egg story, in which you probably expected to find an egg or two, delight is even more powerful when it's a complete surprise. Recent neurological research has determined that dopamine, the chemical produced in the brain that creates a feeling of elation and plays important roles in motivation, arousal and reward among others, is produced in greater amounts when a person experiences a reward that is unexpected than when expected. And it's no surprise that a person who is in a state of delight is more likely to have stronger positive feelings toward the source of that delight. So, logic says that the more you can delight your website visitors, the better they like your brand and the more likely they are to convert to customers.
This is where the Easter eggs come in. No, not the prettily painted chicken ova nor the candy filled plastic variety. This term is strictly web jargon for unexpected delighters hidden in a website or other user interface. Need an example? There's one right on this page (provided you are reading this blog on a screen bigger than an iPad Mini). See that pretty flower sticking out of the right side of your screen? Mouse your cursor over it. See that? That's an Easter egg, a subtle and unexpected visual treat, some candy for the eyes.
The key to creating Easter eggs on your website is to understand your target visitor and plant a surprise that will appeal to them. Easter eggs on websites give an indication to your visitor that your company cares about detail and that you're willing to go the extra mile. A lack of Easter eggs speaks volumes too. So sprinkle them throughout your website and give your visitors a reason to smile.