User profiling and virtual agents: a case study on e-commerce services

Hans H. K. Sønderstrup-Andersen, Verner Andersen, Marco de Gemmis, Giovanni Semeraro, Pasquale Lops

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The main contribution of this work is the design of an application framework based on both conversational agents and user profiling technologies for the development of e-commerce services. User profiles are exploited by conversational agents to help customers in retrieving potentially interesting products from a catalogue. Three techniques were used for collecting data for a usability test: eye-movement tracking, questionnaire, and recording the user-system dialogue. The main outcomes of the experimental sessions are: (1) the dialogue capabilities of the agent facilitate the interaction between the user and the e-commerce site; and, (2) user profiles improve the retrieval capabilities of the agent. Finally, some limitations of the user profiling techniques adopted in the framework are discussed and a more sophisticated content-based profiling technique is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUniversal Access in the Information Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)179-194
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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