From time to time, I will come across a thing that in reality is something small and simple but still fascinates me. Something like a progress bar probably wouldn't be your first guess at what blew me away. You might think that's silly. Many people would not even notice; And it might be mildly amusing for others. But for me, the YouTube Easter Egg is an excellent example of UI/UX design. Let me explain why. [TLDR: Jump to Vid]
When Did I Find the YouTube Easter Egg?
I first noticed this while I was watching a Vito live stream on my smart TV through the YouTube App. I was late to the party, but Vito is always fun to watch so instead of picking it up live, I rewound all the way back to the beginning - over an hour behind! By doing this, I was treated to something really cool...
How to Trigger the Easter Egg
As I mentioned, I was watching the video on my smart TV. This is key, as using the remote will allow me to continuously fast rewind. The YouTube Easter egg is triggered by rewinding a long video past the -1hr mark. Once you hit that 60-minute mark from your start position, a dog comes trotting out from the left side of the screen and runs along the progress marker to the very end!
Why is it Great?
Here is where the designer part of my brain comes in. The reason I was even impressed by the YouTube Easter egg is that it shows someone put in the effort! And why is effort important? Because effort is a cornerstone of designing enjoyable user experiences (UX). Consider the amount of silence you encounter when rewinding a video for such a long time. To break up the monotony, the designers decided to add a little dog animation not only as a fun little surprise, but to distract you from the fact you're patiently waiting until you reach your desired endpoint. See it in action:
Whether its a video streaming app or the UX for your website, understanding the experiences users will have is important to making them happy. Keeping me engaged while performing such a mundane task tells me the designers said, "Hey, we're thinking about you". Is it necessary? No. Is it appreciated? Absolutely! Could you ever imagine talking about a progress bar with your friends? Probably not. But the fact that something so simple turned into a pleasurable experience means the UX team did their jobs!