In 1996, there were several features already present on the Radioshack webpage. The links present on the main page include: Steve’s Workbench, United Against Crime, TV/FM Reception, Home Security, Store Locator, Electronics Repair, and Product Support. The main page is very simple aside from the main links, but it is straight to the point. There does not seem to be any support for online shopping, or communication directly on the website.
The 1996 Radioshack webpage has an interesting link: ‘Steve’s Workbench’. Steve’s Workbench is an interesting relic for a corporate website, because it seems so personal, even addressing the users as though they are friends coming into a workspace. “Come on in and take a look around. I cleaned up my shop ’cause I knew you were coming! I have the neatest job in the universe. I get to play around in the back room at RadioShack and get paid for it!!” Steve’s Workbench is welcoming and appealing, telling users that they can jump into DIY work and will get support from the Radioshack staff.
United Against Crime is another old-fashioned initiative. Radioshack is an interesting store because it provides both crime education and resources for consumers to protect their homes and cars. Radioshack partnered with the National Crime Prevention Council and National Sheriffs’ Association to teach the public more about crime, and offers pamphlets about keeping safe, including how to protect senior citizens and children from crime. This is an interesting artifact to find, modern websites rarely display public safety messages.
The best thing about the old Radioshack webpage is how it caters to hobbyists. It reminds me of the BBS’s we looked at because it actually catered to a niche community and allowed them to access information that was not mainly corporate.
In 2013 the Radioshack website is quite different, there are many advertisements on the main page. The iPhone 5s and the Samsung Galaxy S III and 4. There is still a do-it yourself page, and Hobby dropdown that lists many more DIY-related links than Steve’s Workbench. There are also option on the top of the website that allow users to look at back-to-school gear and other options like upgrading their current model of phone. There is a shopping cart and account function on the version of the website, which means that online shopping has been fully implemented. This is a big step from 1996, because the options for accessing tech have increased exponentially.
The DIY sections of the 2013 version of the website are much more filled out than Steve’s Workbench, but are much less personal. There is a gallery of DIY projects, and people can submit their own. It is still pretty cute, you can still see the creativity of individuals being put out there to the public, even on the corporate website.
It is unfortunate that there are so many advertisements on the 2013 page, it feels like it has lost some of the purity of the original website, but there are many more options, especially when it comes to shopping online, which was not even an option in 1996. The online shopping options are not dissimilar from the ones we have today, you can select your price range for a type of item, the brand, and see if it is currently in stock.
The Radioshack webpage was an interesting one to research, as the old webpage is truly a relic, without the features we have come to expect in the last 10 years. The 2013 page may not be as polished as modern websites, but it has all the features we expect, while losing some of its originality and welcoming presence to advertisement and corporatization.