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The role of human Web assistants in e-commerce: an analysis and a usability study
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2000 (English)In: Internet Research, ISSN 1066-2243, Vol. 10, no 2, 114-125 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electronic commerce has recently shown enormous potential to take over a significant share of the sales market. There is a need to provide services that can reach individual computer users with different information profiles and levels of expertise. In this article the concept of Web assistants, human assistants working in an electronic Web shop, is presented. This human-computer collaboration provides intelligent and adaptive services via an integrated communication media. A prototype of a Web assistant system has been implemented. While browsing through the system the user can call for human assistance should the need arise. Presents the results of a usability study performed on the prototype system. Recent commercial moves in the direction discussed in this article increase the importance of the usability study. The results are encouraging, especially when it comes to the attitude aspects of usability. The subjects were extremely enthusiastic about the concept of Web assistants and its implications. The human Web assistant who participated in the field trial highlighted the importance of user modelling. Although the system is mainly in the context of electronic commerce, it can be used in many other contexts. These include home automation, digital libraries, and technical support, to name a few.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2000. Vol. 10, no 2, 114-125 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-47538DOI: 10.1108/10662240010322902OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-47538DiVA: diva2:268434
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2017-12-13
In thesis
1. Live help systems: an approach to intelligent help for Web information systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Live help systems: an approach to intelligent help for Web information systems
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since the creation of the World-Wide Web we have seen a great growth in the complexity of Web sites. There has also been a large expansion in number of Web sites and in amount of usage. As a consequence, more and more Web site users are having problems accomplishing their tasks, and it is increasingly important to provide them with support.

Our research approach to online help for Web site users is the introduction and study of what we call live help systems. A live help system is an intelligent help system which integrates human experts in the process of advice giving by allowing users to communicate with dedicated expert assistants through the help system. Traditional fully automatic intelligent help systems have several common problems. For example, there are problems with large system complexity, knowledge engineering bottlenecks, and credibility. We hypothesise that live help systems, offer a solution to these problems.

Our aim with this thesis is to explore the design, technical feasibility, and usability of live help systems, in order to provide a foundation on which future research and practise can build. We have systematically explored the design space of live help systems. We have implemented and successfully deployed a live help system at an existing Web site, thereby demonstrating technical feasibility. During the deployment period, data was collected from the users and the human experts. Our analysis shows that live help systems are greatly appreciated by Web users, and that they are indeed effective in helping users accomplish their tasks. We also provide empirical results regarding the effectiveness of employing automatic help functions as a filter for the human experts. Further, the concept of user modelling as an aid for human experts has been explored as part of the field study. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2002. 33 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 745
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35595 (URN)27885 (Local ID)91-7373-311-3 (ISBN)27885 (Archive number)27885 (OAI)
Public defence
2002-05-07, Visionen, Hus B, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2012-12-21

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Åberg, JohanShahmehri, Nahid

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