Alice: assisting online shoppers through ontologies and novel interface metaphors

John Domingue, Maria Martins, Jiacheng Tan, Arthur Stutt, Helgi Petursson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this paper we describe some results of the Alice project. Alice is an ontology based e-commerce project which aims to support online users in the task of shopping. Ontologies describing customers, products, typical shopping tasks and the external context form the basis for the Alice architecture. We also exploit two novel interface metaphors originally developed for navigating databases: the Guides metaphor and Dynamic Queries. The Guides metaphor was developed at Apple to reduce the cognitive load on learners navigating a large hypermedia database. Within Alice we use the Guides metaphor to allow online shoppers to classify themselves. We discuss the link between Alice Guides and Kozinet’s notion of e-tribes or Virtual Communities of Consumption. Our second interface metaphor Dynamic Queries (coupled with Starfield displays) allow users to very quickly find relevant items by displaying the results of queries, posed via specialised slider widgets, within 100 milliseconds. We have constructed a tool, Quiver, which constructs Dynamic Query interfaces on-the-fly as the result of queries to knowledge models stored on the Alice server.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge engineering and knowledge management
Subtitle of host publicationontologies and the semantic web: 13th International Conference, EKAW 2002 Sigüenza, Spain, October 1–4, 2002 Proceedings
Place of PublicationBerlin
ISBN (Electronic)9783540458104
ISBN (Print)9783540442684
Publication statusPublished - 2002
EventEuropean Knowledge Acquisition Workshop 2002 - Sigüenza, Spain
Duration: 1 Oct 20024 Oct 2002

Publication series

NameLecture notes in computer science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


WorkshopEuropean Knowledge Acquisition Workshop 2002
Abbreviated titleEKAW2002


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