Take a Trip Down Web Lane

This blog is my submission to an assignment called Way Back Time Machine found in the web assignments section of the ds106 website.

The assignment itself struck out to because of the name of the title ‘Way Back Time Machine’. I found this assignment unique because most of the assignments require us to create a piece of digital media, whereas this is more of a research assignment and the piece of media we create is the story and screenshots we provide along the way in our blog.  The aim of this assignment is to use the WayBack website tool provided in the assignment brief. We had to look through screenshots of any website you enter in the search bar. The WayBack website is basically a archive of screenshots of any website it has in its records. So for example if I entered youtube.com into the search bar here is what appears:


As you can see by entering youtube.com  in the search bar you can then chose a year, I chose 2005. After choosing a year you can see in the calendar that which ever date is circled blue there is a link to a screenshot of what that specific link of website looked that day of the year.

Choosing a website was quite a difficult choice because I wanted to find a website that captures time well. I initially thought of looking into Wikipedia as it is a very popular, well used website. As Wikipedia is always being constantly updated and having new information added I believed it would have changed quite dramatically through the years, however this is not the case Wikipedia has kept the same plain style throughout the years making it hard to guess what year the screenshots had been taken if you had not seen the date. I then decided to look through YouTube’s archive of screenshots however after looking through the different screenshots you can’t directly tell what year it is by looking at them as all you can see are thumbnails of videos and the titles, it’s not detailed enough for me. After a few more ideas a found that Amazon was the perfect website to look at all the archived screenshots.

As the brief required us to take screenshots of our chosen website through the years Amazon was great because you can really see the comparison and contrast between the older and new archived shots. The comparison isn’t just great because of how well and advanced the website has become but mainly because of how Amazon sells products you are able to see what was in demand and how those products have also dramatically changed.

One of the best comparisons within the time change of Amazon website is the change of mobile phones here you can really tell which the earlier screenshot is.








It’s very clear the left-hand shot is the older of the both, the easiest way to tell is how outdated the phones on the left are; flip phones, slide-up’s and the once popular Blackberry style phone have all been ditched for smart phones, specifically touch screen. The improvement on the site itself is also clear, you can see the website has used screen space better by not having large blank gaps between products and mainly way more information before clicking on the category of phone you want.
Whilst still on the topic of the products on Amazon probably the best example which shows the biggest change in the products and the website is the ‘video’ tab section.



The video section on Amazon from 1999 is actually mainly selling VHS tapes of current films during that time period like The Matrix and The Mummy. I find this very interesting because in the left hand column there is a link to DVD’s. So at this point in time DVD’s were a small feature in the video section and VHS tapes were still the dominant top seller.


Now you can see in 2017 the video section is predominantly based on Amazon Prime, which is their TV/film streaming feature. What’s also interesting about this apart from the clear change in the design of the website and the new shows and films is the change in the way we watch them. Amazon along with a lot of other companies like Netflix offer shows and films to be streamed on their websites which requires a subscription and most importantly internet connection. The progression has happened so fast that looking at both of these screen shots you would never had guessed that DVD’s were as big as they were. The screenshot in 1999 shows DVD’s up and coming whereas the 2017 screenshot has no surface link to DVD’s meaning there time has been and gone.


The inspiration in doing this assignment was to showcase a website like amazon that has changed with time and I wanted to show the clear change in how the website has changed and how the content has also changed based upon the buyers want. Amazon is a perfect example because it is not only changing with time it is actually adapting with time and that’s why the difference in screenshots is so crazy. I think the video tab is clear evidence of this, you would not have been able to tell DVD’s were a house hold item or even Blu-Rays. Amazon have adapted to the needs of what people want that is why the current video section is mainly selling instantly downloadable video content and not hardware like DVD’s and VHS tapes.


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